Dale Coyne Racing named James Davison as replacement driver for Sebastien Bourdain, who was injured in a crash during qualifying on Saturday, for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. The Australian driver will jump into the No. 18 Geico Honda on Monday for his first competitive laps in an Indy car in two years; his last series appearance was with the Plainfield-based team in the 2015 running of the 500-mile classic.
The decision comes after much speculation with Bourdais expected to take the rest of the season off to recover. Potential fill-ins seen in attendance at the speedway were Mathew Brabham, Tristan Vautier and Stefan Wilson (who sat out this year’s race for Fernando Alonso’s entry with Andretti Autosport). Chip Ganassi Racing will also need to find a replacement for Bourdais, who was set to defend his LMGTE Pro class win in the Ford GT.
Davison has worked with the team before. Aside from his 2015 Indianapolis run, he also drove for Dale Coyne in 2013, finishing 15th and 18th at Mid-Ohio and Sonoma. This year’s race will be Davison’s third time in the Indianapolis 500, having also run the race with KV Racing in 2014.
“My thoughts are with Sebastien and Claire Bourdais,” expressed Davison. “This is never the circumstance that a driver wants to secure an opportunity to drive in the Indianapolis 500. With that said, I’m extremely excited and ready to take on this challenge. The prime goal will be to secure a strong result for the team, Sebastien and all our sponsors. I can’t wait to get started.”
Davison will be under pressure to get acquainted with the car in a short amount of time. Aside from the three and a half hour practice session on Monday, he’ll have one more shot with a final hour of practice during Friday’s Carb Day ahead of Sunday’s main event.