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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bourdais Bids Champ Car Farewell

Sebastien Bourdais put an exclamation point on another Champ Car World Series title at the Grand Prix of Mexico City. The question remains as to what the Champ Car World Series will do without its champion?

Sebastien Bourdais put an exclamation point on another Champ Car World Series title at the Grand Prix of Mexico City. This is the Frenchman’s record fourth consecutive championship. Mexico City was his farewell race to the open wheel series. Bourdais announced that he would leave the Champ Car series to race in Formula 1 in 2008. He possesses great talent and should do well in the right situation in F1. The question remains as to what the Champ Car World Series will do without its champion?

In Sunday’s race, Bourdais was not challenged until the late going in a dull season ending race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit. Only a late race caution put the final result in doubt. With a handful of laps remaining, Will Power was able to close up on Bourdais’ rear wing under a full course yellow. However, when the green flag came out, Bourdais skillfully drove away from Power on his way to another victory.

Champ Car is a series that is struggling to find an identity. Sunday’s race and the Bourdais announcement have not helped. Without a proven champion, F1 cast- offs, and young talent, Sebastien leaves a series in crisis. Paul Tracy, an aging former champ, needed a rising star like Bourdais to offer challenges. Every good racing series has a protagonist and antagonist with similar talent and attitude.

The rest of the driver’s in Sunday’s race are young or unproven in the series. Will Power, Justin Wilson, and Robert Doornbos are the early favorites to contend for next year’s title. To further complicate matters for Champ Car, the series is poorly marketed. The race in Mexico City was telecast on ESPN2. This may have been the weekend’s best-kept secret. As an avid college football fan, the ESPN family of networks is a necessity on Saturdays. There was little or no mention of the race leading up to the 2 PM start. If the series wants to compete with the IRL and NASCAR, fans have to know where to find the races. Several seasons ago, the races were held on the old Outdoor Network and knowing what channel and when the race would be aired became a struggle.

French racing fans have had very little to cheer about since the retirement of F1 champion Alain Prost. Sebastien Bourdais is the real deal and should be fun to watch in F1. While he moves on to a future in F1, Champ Car is faced with a future that may not be so bright.


Bourdais photo courtesy AP Photo/Yves Logghe

2 comments:

jake said...

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http://biz.yahoo.com/iw/080122/0350925.html

Dot said...

Great work.