Ford Performance announced on Wednesday morning that Verizon IndyCar Series regular Tony Kanaan will replace Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68 Ford GT at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bourdais, as you remember, suffered leg and pelvis injuries in a crash during the first day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 and is currently out indefinitely. Kanaan will share the No. 68 Ford GT with IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship regulars Joey Hand and Dirk Müller.
Kanaan is very happy to be able to make his Le Mans debut.
“It’s an honor to be named a part of the Ford GT lineup for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing at the Le Mans 24,” Kanaan said in a press release. “It’s obviously an unfortunate situation that brought us to this point with Sébastien’s injuries, but I’m going to do my best to take his place and try to help win this amazing race for the team again this year. This race has definitely been on my bucket list for a long time, so I’m thankful that Chip and our partners at Ford have given me this opportunity.”
Kanaan has one career race in the Ford GT. That was the Rolex 24 at Daytona earlier this year in the No. 69 entry for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing UK. The No. 69, which Kanaan shared with WEC regulars Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell, finished fifth in GTLM and ninth overall.
Technically, Kanaan would be required to take part in the Le Mans Test Day. which is scheduled for Sunday. However, he will be in Detroit competing in Race No. 2 of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Chevrolet Grand Prix. That counts as a valid excuse in the eyes of the ACO.
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Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.