By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
Wednesday’s announcement that Sebastien Bourdais would be joining Dale Coyne Racing for 2017 and 2018 campaigns in the Verizon IndyCar Series should put some people on notice because Bourdais wasn’t the only person Coyne has hired for next season.
Besides bringing in Bourdais, Dale Coyne made two hires for the engineering side of his team. Olivier Boisson will be joining the team after being Bourdais’s engineer at KVSH Racing the last few seasons while Bourdais’s engineer at Newman-Haas Racing, Craig Hampson, will also join the team as Bourdais’s race engineer.
During Bourdais’s announcement, it was revealed that the team will also be with Honda for next season. Given that Chip Ganassi’s team is returning to Honda for 2017, it means that the Japanese marque will be even more competitive in 2017.
But Honda’s possible resurgence for 2017 is only part of the equation for Dale Coyne Racing. There’s much more to it than that.
Dale Coyne Racing had been known for a long time as a lower-tier team. It wasn’t until Champ Car’s swan song season in 2007 that the team tasted any success with Bruno Junqueira, and that marked the turning point for the team.
In 2009, after 25 years in motorsport, DCR finally tasted victory with a resounding win for Justin Wilson at Watkins Glen. It was a proper thumping of the larger teams in IndyCar and put the rest of the field on notice that Coyne was serious about getting better.
From 2012 to 2014, Coyne’s managed to secure a victory in each season, with Wilson again in 2012 at Texas, Mike Conway in 2013 at Detroit and Carlos Huertas in one of the most unlikeliest of victories at Houston in 2014.
This engineering super team will be one to look out for in 2017. Hampson won four titles with Bourdais at Newman-Haas while Boisson’s experience with Bourdais over the last few seasons makes DCR a formidable team as 2017 approaches.