Sebastien Bourdais was the favourite for pole position for this year’s Indy 500 when he lost control of his car and speared into the wall at well over 200 mph during the qualifying session. A whopping 118G of force was recorded in the impact and remarkably left the Dale Coyne Racing driver ‘only’ needing surgery on a fractured pelvis and hip.
He was out of hospital just a few days after the the shunt and now, just two-and-a-bit months after his accident, he’s regained enough fitness to get back in an IndyCar and is doing some testing at the Mid-Ohio circuit.
It turns out that his injuries have been healing quicker than expected and over the past few weeks he’s been getting back to his normal workout routine.
“I’m feeling really good, rehab turned into workouts pretty quick, and we’re definitely seeing a lot of progress. It’s not linear, the guys in St Pete taking care of me have done a really good job, we have kind of been pushing each other within limits, it was definitely good to just get on the bike and do everything more normal.
Although Bourdais was expected to be out for the rest of the IndyCar season he always hoped to be back for the last race. This test at the Mid-Ohio circuit looks like being the first step to him achieving that goal – or possibly returning even sooner – though he admitted it was more of an evaluation day than a proper test.
The Frenchman said he was driving the car a bit sooner than doctors had expected but that it was necessary for him to get some seat time now, before the cars get switched over to their oval specification.
“I wouldn’t be here and getting back in a car if I wasn’t ready, but for now, it’s just testing. We’ll see how it goes, it’s kind of an evaluation day. I know that after this, the cars get transferred to ovals and everything. The doctors were OK with me getting back in the car on the 15th, and they said that two weeks were not going to make a big difference.
“Physically, I’m feeling good, so we’ll give it a shot because after that we get to two ovals, timing gets a bit crazy, and I’m probably not going to get an opportunity to test.”
So, can he be racing again before the end of the season? The next two races on the IndyCar calendar are ovals and it seems unlikely he’ll be back for those, but the penultimate race at Watkins Glen in September could be a real possibility for Bourdais. How impressive would that be?!