Dale Coyne and Vasser-Sullivan partnership renewed, Bourdais to stay in the #18

by Jordan Groves
Sebastien Bourdais (FRA), Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan, 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series, St. Petersburg

Dale Coyne Racing has confirmed today that they have signed a multi-year extension with Jimmy Vasser and James Sullivan to continue the partnership that collectively oversees the #18 Honda of Sebastien Bourdais in the NTT IndyCar Series.

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan will remain on the grid for the next few seasons as a part of the new multi-year extension between both parties. Today’s news also confirms that Sebastien Bourdais will compete in the entire 2019 NTT IndyCar Series at least, with the chances of recommitting with a future contract extension looking likely.

“I am very happy that Dale, Jimmy and Sulli are all moving forward together,” Bourdais said today. “The project Dale and I started in 2017 will continue to develop over the next two years with the support of a lot of people and great sponsors. As we are getting closer to the beginning of the season, I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve over the next two.”

Dale Coyne and Vasser-Sullivan came together for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series after a long period of negotiation. Vasser and Sullivan, who had previously worked with Bourdais at KV Racing, took part ownership of the #18 entry for the season, with Bourdais rewarding them with a race victory in the first race of the season at St. Petersburg.

Sadly for Sebastien and the team, the first race ultimately ended up being the only time the Frenchman would stand on top of the podium during the seventeen-race season. A mixture of bad luck and other factors limited Bourdais to only one other podium finish, with a total of just eight top ten finishes by the end of the season.

The potential speed of the #18 team continued to showcase itself throughout the year, however, with Bourdais being responsible for some of the most breathtaking overtakes of the year at Long BeachMid-Ohio and other races.

Sebastien Bourdais (FRA), Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan, 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series, Long Beach

Credit: Stephen King / Courtesy of IndyCar

After today’s announcement, the car’s co-owner Vasser cited Bourdais’ driving talent as one of the reasons he was excited for the future of the partnership with the Frenchman and Dale Coyne Racing.

“We are excited to continue our relationship with Dale and to have Sebastien driving for us,” Vasser said. “Seb is without question one of the greatest drivers ever in an Indy car. All you have to do is look at some of his performances from last year to know what a talent he is. Sulli and I are looking forward to our future as Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan and improving on the success we started last year.”

Vasser’s partner, Sullivan, would go on to add that he was hoping that the “flashes of brilliance” seen in 2018 could translate into better results in 2019 and onwards.

“After nearly a year of planning in 2017, 2018 was really a trial to get to this point of a multiyear go-forward plan,” said Sullivan, “We had flashes of brilliance, and most importantly we proved the new partnership worked. This is what we all wanted, and now we have a great platform to build on as we fight for the INDYCAR championship in the coming years.”

Bourdais will be joined by rookie Santino Ferrucci in the Dale Coyne stable for 2019. Coyne himself was happy with today’s news, as Vasser and Sullivan’s involvement will continue to provide the team with extra funds.

“I am really pleased that Jimmy, Sulli and I have reached an agreement to grow our partnership, and to have Sebastien returning,” said Coyne. “This next phase of our partnership will see the team with some more resources, equipment and funding. I’m quite looking forward to building upon what we started last year and taking it to the next level.”

The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series will get under-way with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 10. Bourdais will be hoping to continue his recent domination on the streets of St. Pete by taking his third consecutive win at the event.

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