Bonjour V8 Supercars

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 21/08/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

While he will miss this morning's co-driver session that kicks off V8 Supercars action at the Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint, Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais is aiming to impress in the Team 18 Holden Commodore VF during the Pirtek Enduro Cup and be invited back for years to come.

"For sure! Hopefully I do a good job and it becomes a regular thing every year that I come and do the endurance series," the IndyCar ace told "It would be pretty cool."

"So hopefully I do a good job - not bad - and they want me back."

But Bourdais, 36, who is rated as one of the best internationals to ever drive a V8 Supercar based on his outings in the 2010-11-12 Gold Coast 600, emphasised the best way to win the respect of team owner Charlie Schwerkolt, lead driver Lee Holdsworth and the Walkinshaw Racing squad led by his old friend Adrian Burgess was to fill the supporting role required of a co-driver.

"I am just going to try and be as much help as I can be and be as little disturbance as I can be," he said.

"It's the role of every co-driver really to be positive and not be negative in any way. Which means first; bring the car back in one piece and second; don't make the car your own so it hurts the performance of the main driver.

"You just try and raise the bar and make the package as competitive as possible."

Bourdais is conscious that the team has had a difficult season extracting pace from the 2015-spec Commodore, but has been encouraged by Holdsworth's decent qualifying and pace in Townsville and the Holden Racing Team's ability to race forward from midfield.

But he avoided setting any particular expectations for results.

"No itdoesn't matter what you say you want to achieve. What matters is you try your very best and you leave nothing on the table. The result will be what it will be."

Bourdais will be in Pennsylvania racing at the fearsome Pocono speedway in the penultimate round of the Verizon IndyCar championship this weekend. America's premier open-wheeler series wraps up the following weekend at the Sonoma road course.

Bourdais is sixth in the championship in the KVHS Racing Chevrolet, winning two races so far. He still has an outside shot at the title.

Once the IndyCar season is complete he will then dash to Australia for his first and only test session in the Walkinshaw Racing Commodore he will share with Lee Holdsworth on September 3 at Winton.

Bourdais, has two wins and two seconds to his credit on the Gold Coast in 2011 and 2012 with Jamie Whincup in the Triple Eight Commodore. Before that he claimed eighth and 16th places with Jonathon Webb in a DJR-fettled Falcon.

Bourdais has never driven the New Generation V8 Supercar, nor raced at Sandown or Mount Panorama, where the first two rounds of the PEC will be held.

However, he is confident he can adapt to the cars and course and get up to speed.

"I think it is a trademark of myself that I am able to adapt very quickly, although I don't underestimate the challenge," Bourdais said.

"Obviously it has been a couple of years since I have been in one of those cars and whether it be an old car or a new car will probably not matter so much.

"The Gold Coast is a little bit of a distant memory and the fact it was a street track and everything I am just going to check it out, take in as much as possible and do as many miles as possible and get acclimatised to whatever the car itself like to be."

Bourdais is not kidding about being adaptable. He is a four-time title-holder in the old CART ChampCar series that ran in competition with IndyCars. He is also a three-time runner-up in the Le Mans 24-hour sports car race, spent two years in Formula One with the Toro Rosso team and won the international Formula 3000 series in 2002.

Nevertheless, he happily admits his excitement at racing in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and experiencing the legendary Mount Panorama circuit for the first time. He says team engineer Alex Somerset has filled his dropbox with plenty of videos and data to acquaint him with the 6.23km track.

"It's not easy, I know there are a lot of blind corners," he said. "So you have really got to hit the marks and you have got walls all the way up and all the way down the mountain.

"So I am not under-estimating it at all. I am just hoping I will do a good job for the team and maybe become an addict, maybe come every year and do these endurance races.

"But right now I don't have big expectations, I just try and do the best I can and help the team achieve the most popular results. And that will be fine whatever it is, as long as I don't make any mistakes."

Bourdais is one of five internationals who will co-drive at Bathurst. Others include Nissan's Alex Buncombe, back for a second year with Todd Kelly, Volvo's Alex Premat having a fourth go, Pom Oliver Gavin with Nick Percat at LDM and Swiss wild card Simona de Silvestro, who will share with Renee Gracie.

Bourdais praised de Silvestro, who he knows from her time racing in the IndyCar championship, where she has claimed a podium finish in 2013.

"Her record speaks for itself," said Bourdais. "She is a solid professional. I have never seen her drive a GT or touring car or anything like that but as an openwheel driver she has got talent."

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