Sebastien Bourdais returned to an IndyCar for the first time since his horror crash during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, turning more than eighty laps of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Monday.
Bourdais fractured his hip and pelvis in the high speed turn two crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the injuries preventing him from racing in two of the biggest events on the motor sport calendar, the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Seventy-two days after his crash, he was back in the Dale Coyne Racing car, and he felt no ill effects following the test, although his neck muscles did struggle somewhat, although he was expecting that to be the case after being out of the car for so long.
“It’s just great to be back in the car, really, and to feel like nothing’s changed,” said Bourdais. “Two and a half months have gone by and you get back in the car, hop in the saddle and feel good. It was very positive.
“The one thing that’s not up for the challenge yet is the neck, but that I kind of knew going in. I was lifting weights and everything, but it’s just so tough when you’re out of the car like that.
“I’m sure if I was back in the car tomorrow, I’d be better, but that first day your neck goes in shock. It goes, ‘What are you doing?’ It was a very productive day. I guess I wish Mid-Ohio (race) was next weekend and Dale was up for it, but it’s not.”
Bourdais admitted that the test was aimed to see how close he is to a full-time return, and although his team owner Dale Coyne says he will race in the season finale at Sonoma Raceway, his participation in the penultimate round at Watkins Glen International is not yet confirmed.
“If I was not quite there yet, then I wanted to know how far (off) I was,” said Bourdais. “And if I was ready, then I knew I would be ready in a month from now. It was really important for me and Dale understood that. And thanks to him, we could do the test.”