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Sébastien Bourdais: “DP01 finally gave me a win at Road America”

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On October 29th, RM Sotheby’s has one of the most impressive single-seater collections ever up for sale. In its 25-year existence, the Newman/Haas team was consistently a powerhouse of Indycar racing. Paul Newman and Carl Haas saw their cars score 108 wins and 8 championships. In this series, we take a closer look at the Newman/Haas history.

Open wheel racing in the US has a somewhat complicated and convoluted history. This history all came to a head in 1995 when the two sanctioning bodies, the IRL and CART, literally split the series in two over a dispute concerning eligibility to compete in the Indy 500. Consequently, what was one series now became two, with different cars, different schedules, and running on different tracks.

Sébastien Bourdais speaking with Carl Haas in Goodwood. Photo Newspress

Champ Car

This went on for more than a decade with the IRL running on oval tracks and CART, later renamed Champ Car, running on street and road courses. Of all the teams concerned during this troubled era, the most famous one was Newman Haas racing. Despite the friction and politics of the period there was some amazing racing going on and the biggest star driver of the period was Newman Haas driver Sébastien Bourdais.

Photo RM Sotheby’s

Six wins from ten starts

Bourdais’ record is the stuff of legend, with the driver winning a total of 37 races and 4 consecutive Champ Car titles between 2004 and 2007. RM Sotheby’s is offering a collection of cars and automobilia from the Newman Haas team collection and one of the best of the entire sale is lot number 172 the 2007 DP01 Cosworth. This specific car was the one that Bourdais would drive to victory 6 times in 10 total starts during the 14-race season and give him his 4th consecutive Champ Car Championship.

I actually got to watch Bourdais drive this car to victory at the Portland race and it was nothing short of spectacular. Both he and the car just seemed unbeatable, as if they were racing at an entirely different level.

Photo RM Sotheby’s


It is important to note that Bourdais is still racing in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship and saw wins this year at Long Beach and Detroit. At the time of writing, he ranked 3rd in points for the 2022 season. Also don’t forget that he saw a class win in the 2016 24 hours of Le Mans. I spoke to Sébastien Bourdais about his time racing this historic car, about what it was like to race and what issues they had at the time.

Photo RM Sotheby’s

Incredible on road circuits

“At the start we had a bit of a hard time on street courses when compared to the Lola due to the DP01 not having a viscous differential. On road circuits the balance was right there. At Road America and Mont-Tremblant it was incredible, the car was insane. When you feel one with the car it is amazing, and it was one of the few cars I was able to feel this with multiple times in multiple races during the same season which is unusual.”

Photo RM Sotheby’s

“What made DP01 so great was something about the combination of the grip from the tires, the power, the aero, and the overall balance that made for an almost perfect combination. At Road America we qualified on pole 1.5 seconds ahead of the 2nd place car. That was simply unbelievable.”

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Never on oval

“The only thing I never learned about DP01 was how it would have performed on an oval track because we never took it on a superspeedway oval. I think it would probably have been spectacular. It would also have been pretty awesome on a short oval.”

Photo RM Sotheby’s

“The last race in Mexico City was very special, I was getting the scary thought that things were not going to go as originally discussed in F1 while at the same time about to end my time with a team that was not just a team but a family. To totally dominate that final race in the car was awesome.”

At one with the car

“My favourite was the win with the car at Road America because that was the one place that winning had eluded us which made that win really cool. This car is my very favourite road course racecar because when you feel that much at one with the car it goes to the top of the list.”

Photo RM Sotheby’s

This car is one of 36 Indycar single-seaters from the Newman/Haas collection RM Sotheby’s auctions off on October 29th. The auction takes place at the Newman Haas racing shop. More info on this one-of-a-kind sale here.

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