Feb 12, 2014, 1:39 PM EDT
It’s take two for “Seb squared,” with Sebastian Saavedra rejoining Sebastien Bourdais for a second straight year in the IndyCar Series. The difference is, this year it’s at KV Racing, compared to Dragon Racing in 2013.
On a conference call Wednesday, Saavedra spoke highly of the chance to work with Bourdais again, as did KV team co-owner Jimmy Vasser.
“Keeping the Sebastians together is important,” Vasser said. “I know how they work, because the first season is awkward with new teammates. How they’ve worked together good or bad. It will be beneficial.”
“I have a four-time champ as a teammate, it’s more of a benefit than anything,” Saavedra said. “I want to build my own career, forge my own path, but for sure I will use his expertise. Driving with him last year, we know each other, know where he came from. We build it throughout the season and he didn’t need to teach me that much. We’re going to be an interesting pair.”
Vasser also said that Saavedra surprised him at times with his pace early in 2013.
“At times with Conquest and last year early on, he was really being very competitive to outpacing Bourdais, that was very impressive,” Vasser said. “The speed is there. It takes a few years to get comfortable in this series, and then start to have your legs underneath you.”
Saavedra tests today at Sonoma, and will have further tests in Sebring and Texas before the official preseason test at Barber in March.
To this point, Saavedra’s had an uneven IndyCar career. He’s only 23, and 2014 will mark his third full season with his third different team, after spending the 2011 season with Conquest Racing and last year with Dragon. He stepped down to Indy Lights in 2012, and raced with Andretti Autosport in an AFS-backed entry with a handful of IndyCar starts.
Purely on results, Saavedra has done little to merit a seat. In 38 career starts, Saavedra only has two top-10 finishes – eighth at Baltimore and 10th at Detroit Race 2 last year. He did outqualify Bourdais five times in 2013, but due to an engineering tailspin and other crew changes in the second half of the year, his qualifying fell off dramatically. He did not start better than 18th in any of the last 10 races.
He hasn’t had a truly “wow” moment in IndyCar. When you think of the things that stand out, it was a last-minute qualifying effort on the first day of qualifying at Indy 2012, so he wouldn’t need to qualify on Bump Day, or his Dragon car’s blue chrome paint glitter-bombing the track in last year’s practice, or his double-bird outburst against Marco Andretti in Detroit that cost him $30,000 and put him on probation.
Still, you get the sense that, like a Simona de Silvestro before she advanced to KV last year, Saavedra’s still not had a great opportunity with better equipment.
He occasionally overachieved with Conquest, showed flashes of speed in his Andretti cameos, and had a pair of ninth place starts to open 2013 with Dragon, so he has his moments.
In Indy Lights in 2012, he regularly beat teammate Carlos Munoz, who’s now racing with Andretti. In that 2009 rookie season, he won twice and finished third in the points, ahead of future IndyCar race winners James Hinchcliffe and Charlie Kimball. He only trailed JR Hildebrand and James Davison.
There are occasional flashes of brilliance. He just needs to deliver with greater consistency in 2014.
May 6, 2015, 3:47 PM EDT
Monaco gets a tune-up weekend with FIA Formula E this weekend, and most of the field has past track experience.
BREAKING NEWS: NHRA to go ahead with Topeka race May 22-24, despite City Council vote against racetrack purchase
May 6, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT
The NHRA said Wednesday that the Kansas Nationals will go on as scheduled, May 22-24, despite the Topeka City Council voting Tuesday against the purchase of Heartland Park Topeka.
May 6, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT
Update to various engines for manufacturer points.
May 6, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
Same brew. New livery.
May 6, 2015, 12:37 PM EDT
Stefano Coletti returns to a track he won at nearly a decade ago, a rare track he knows in his rookie IndyCar season.
May 6, 2015, 10:56 AM EDT
Carlos Huertas set for return at Dale Coyne Racing for this weekend’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
May 6, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT
After a decent start on pace, Simon Pagenaud looks for results to match to kick off the month of May.
May 6, 2015, 9:25 AM EDT
McLaren’s new darker graphite grey livery is unveiled.
May 6, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno speaks to Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles for an overview on the present plans and the future outlook as IMS rolls into the 2015 Month of May and ahead into 2016.
May 6, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Fast facts heading into this weekend’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, courtesy of IndyCar PR staff.
May 5, 2015, 9:31 PM EDT
If it has four wheels, Bryan Clauson has likely raced it in his career.
May 5, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT
Without a full-time ride for this season, Justin Wilson is happy to be back in a race car and to have a ride for at least the next two races.
May 5, 2015, 6:02 PM EDT
Helio Castroneves hopes to enjoy the appetizer this weekend and then sink his teeth into the main course two weeks later.
May 5, 2015, 3:19 PM EDT
AJ Foyt’s No. 48 Honda-powered Dallara will have history written all over it in this year’s Indianapolis 500.
May 5, 2015, 2:03 PM EDT
At a time when many people would be embracing retirement, legendary NHRA drag racer John Force just keeps motoring along.
May 4, 2015, 5:18 PM EDT
Road America invests millions into some track upgrades for 2015.
May 4, 2015, 2:18 PM EDT
Nastia Liukin named grand marshal for this year’s Indianapolis 500.
May 4, 2015, 1:33 PM EDT
Videos from the debut of the new Ligier JS P2 Hondas for Tequila Patron ESM at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.
May 4, 2015, 11:41 AM EDT
Mann gets back to work behind the wheel and has a very good first day of running at IMS.
May 4, 2015, 11:35 AM EDT
Early days yet, but seems as though Andretti Autosport is starting the month of May out on the right foot.
- BREAKING NEWS: NHRA to go ahead with Topeka race May 22-24, despite City Council vote against racetrack purchase 0
- New McLaren Honda livery revealed 1
- Q&A: IMS President Doug Boles heading into 2015 Month of May, 2016 planning 0
- Indiana native Bryan Clauson ready for special Indy 500 return 4
- On eve of 300th IndyCar start, Helio Castroneves eyes record-tying fourth Indy 500 win 3
- Alex Tagliani to drive 3rd AJ Foyt car in Indy 500, will pay tribute to Dan Gurney 3
- NHRA legend John Force turns 66, not slowing down any time soon 1