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Sebastien Bourdais might return to Long Beach in IndyCar Series

February 3, 2011 | 12:28 pm

Between 2005 and 2007, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was the playground of Sebastien Bourdais, who won the race on the city's seaside streets for three consecutive years.

Bourdais At the time, the race was part of the Champ Car World Series, and Bourdais also won the Champ Car championship in 2007 for the fourth consecutive year for the Newman-Haas-Lanigan team.

Then in 2008, when Champ Car was reunited with the IndyCar Series, the French driver left for what would be an unsuccessful foray into Formula One and, after he was fired from that ride in mid-2009, other European circuits.

But Bourdais might be back for another shot at the Long Beach race this year.

The IndyCar team of Dale Coyne Racing said this week that Bourdais recently tested one of its cars at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway with an eye toward being hired to race on the so-called road courses -- curvy tracks and street circuits -- on IndyCar's schedule  this year. The Long Beach grand prix is one of those races.

"We have talked with Sebastien before and this is an opportunity that has great potential," team owner Dale Coyne said in a statement.

Bourdais, who turns 32 on Feb. 28 and was born in the famous racing city of Le Mans, France, said in the same release that he looked forward "to putting together the pieces to get back into Indy car racing."

Coyne told  that he expected to finalize his driver lineup for this season in about two weeks. Other candidates include Alex Lloyd, one of Coyne's drivers last year.

The 17-race Izod IndyCar Series season opens March 27 with a street race in St. Petersburg, Fla., and this year's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is April 17.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: Sebastien Bourdais is congratulated after winning the Toyota Grand prix of Long Beach for the third consecutive year on April 15, 2007. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times