"Analytical approach" by Bourdais is paying off for Foyt in IndyCar

AJ Foyt Racing's technical director Mike Colliver says Sebastien Bourdais' talent, experience and attitude, and the engineering group "pulling in the same direction", has resulted in the IndyCar team's improvements

"Analytical approach" by Bourdais is paying off for Foyt in IndyCar

Bourdais, who joined AJ Foyt Racing part-time for 2020 and is a full-timer for '21, topped this week's 12-car test at Barber Motorsports Park when laps using the push-to-pass boost were taken out of the equation.

This follows a strong test at the same venue last November, and a fourth place in the 2020 season finale at St. Petersburg - a result the team hasn't bettered since Takuma Sato scored a podium at Detroit more than five years ago.

Encouragingly, Dalton Kellett, who will drive the #4 Foyt car full-time this year, ended the test just 0.7s slower than Bourdais, who has four Champ Car titles and 37 race wins to his name.

Colliver, who became the team's technical director after hiring Justin Taylor to serve as race engineer on Bourdais' car for this season, said: "I think the test is just the continued development from some of the stuff we were doing at Road America last year.

"Charlie [Kimball, this year Foyt's third driver for Indy GP and Indy 500] was pretty strong in Race 2 and Dalton was strong at Mid-Ohio for where his development is.

"We then had a really good test at Barber in the fall with Sebastien, and some of that was combining what was done in the past, ideas that I brought, ideas that Mike Pawlowski [race engineer on the #4] had.

"COVID and the compressed schedule has helped us catch up and gave us the time to have in-house development of some of the tools we could use to analyse and quantify things. The test was a good validation for some of those tools."

Regarding Bourdais' contribution, Colliver said: "He's a huge help. Just his wealth of knowledge is a huge help from a couple standpoints.

"One, he understands mechanically what the car is doing, and secondly, he gives the changes to the car a fair shot. He will go out and run six or seven laps, and maybe the first two laps it doesn't feel great. Maybe he'll change something in his driving style or he'll wait a little longer for the tyre pressures to come up or do a click on the rear bar - whatever he needs to do. And then he comes in and tells you it either worked or didn't and why.

"His analytical approach combined with his experience is really refreshing. He doesn't get rattled, he's very calm and meticulous in the car.

"But it is also the whole feel of the group. The engineering group is really working together well. Everybody is putting work in that shows up on both cars and really on Seb's because of his driving ability.

"From the data guys, to the guys who are doing simulations, the junior engineers, Danielle's (Cucchiaroni, performance engineer) knowledge and Justin is doing a great job. Everybody is pulling in the same direction which is really cool."

Bourdais added: "We went through a lot of stuff, testing dampers and some concepts as far as platforms. Everybody's starting to work pretty efficiently together, the atmosphere is good.

"The car was pretty quick right out of the box and I had a really good time. Very positive day. With Barber being the season opener, you want to be cautiously optimistic. I think we should have a good card to play and be in the mix, which is always encouraging, so I'm looking forward to it."

The team has one more test planned at Texas Motor Speedway at the end of March before the Open Test at Indianapolis in early April.

shares
comments
Supercars champion McLaughlin "harshest critic" of IndyCar adaptation

Previous article

Supercars champion McLaughlin "harshest critic" of IndyCar adaptation

Next article

Ex-F1 driver Grosjean "more confident" after second IndyCar test

Ex-F1 driver Grosjean "more confident" after second IndyCar test
Load comments
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season by his Chip Ganassi Racing. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with the six-time champion team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Plus

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets is now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
Why IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still far from over Plus

Why IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still far from over

OPINION: The 2021 IndyCar silly season has been one of the silliest for many years, as many talented drivers remain in play – with new pieces to the puzzle being added all the time. Here's what we know so far about who will end up where in 2022

IndyCar
Sep 15, 2021
Why IndyCar's generational shift isn't as stark as it appears Plus

Why IndyCar's generational shift isn't as stark as it appears

OPINION: The rise of two drivers racing only their second full-season IndyCar campaigns to head the points with four races to go has led to some observers doubting the credentials of the old guard. But they haven't faded away, there's merely a deeper talent pool that is helping to make this season one of the best in recent years

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indycar rookie Plus

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indycar rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in Indycar for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular team-mate Mauro Martini's passion for racing

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The two key areas where Dixon needs to re-assert his authority Plus

The two key areas where Dixon needs to re-assert his authority

OPINION: Having been Chip Ganassi Racing's IndyCar focal point for the best part of a decade, Scott Dixon has been so far outgunned by new team-mate Alex Palou in 2021. After finishing behind the Spaniard at his traditional happy hunting ground at Mid-Ohio, Dixon has work to do to assume his traditional position in the team and the standings

IndyCar
Jul 6, 2021
The winners and losers of IndyCar 2021 so far Plus

The winners and losers of IndyCar 2021 so far

At the halfway point in the 2021 IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels?

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021