AJ Foyt Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais in the No.14 ROKiT Chevrolet heads into this weekend’s inaugural Music City Grand Prix recharged and ready to go having spent time in France visiting his family over the Summer break.

Looking ahead to the race, AJ Foyt Racing caught up with the Frenchman:

Big Machine Music City Grand Prix:

“Looking forward to this new event. Our street course pace has been pretty good and I love these challenging tracks. The excitement and anticipation around the event is as high as I have ever seen which is always super motivating.”

How do you prepare for a track you’ve only seen on paper?

“Had a very brief look at the track in the simulator, but really not much you can do until you get in the car for the driver.”

On paper does it resemble any other track you’ve raced on?

“Every street course is unique. Roughness, layout… and this one fits the description.”

How long does it take for you to get comfortable with the layout (in laps or time)?

“Very much depends on how the car behaves. If you’re feeling comfortable and can attack, 10 laps or two runs usually does it. But you may never get there if you can’t get the balance you need.”

Which parts of the track do you think will be the most challenging to get right?

“T9 seems to be the most challenging. Very quick approach and decently quick mid corner speed.”

Have you ever raced over water (or on a bridge) before in your career? If so, where and when?

“Valencia F1 street course in 2008.” Note: The F1 course existed for five races (2008-2012) and the swing bridge section was 450’ long.

Have you ever been to Nashville before – either for work or pleasure?

“Never been.”

What are you most looking forward to doing in the city when you’re not on the track?

“Always tough to do tourist things during race weekends.”

Dalton Kellett in the No.4 K Line Insulator U.S Chevrolet is looking forward to the Music City Grand Prix:

Big Machine Music City Grand Prix:

“I’ve been looking forward to this event since the announcement. Street circuits are some of my favourite races. They are a great way to grow the sport, because we are bringing the show to the fans. Nashville is an event city, they know how to host a party and have a good time. I’m confident the city will embrace the excitement of the weekend. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase IndyCar to a new group of fans. It will be impossible to ignore the sounds of us racing across the Cumberland!”

How do you prepare for a track you’ve only seen on paper?

“Preparing for this track, that will be new to everyone, really comes down to virtual means. We spent a couple days in the Chevy Simulator in Charlotte and the engineers have been using lap-sim software to model the track. Both of these combined give us a good starting point for the first session. Beyond that, we have to be ready to adjust to whatever the track throws our way and the inevitable differences from simulation to real-life.”

On paper does it resemble any other track you’ve raced on?

“The Nashville track is looking to be very unique. Few street courses (in North America) have any elevation change. Nashville has the sections going up and down the ramps on the bridge and tight section going up Second Street is uphill. So that will be a unique challenge. Street circuits tend to be bumpy, so it is looking to be similar to others in that regard.”

How long does it take for you to get comfortable with the layout (in laps or time)?

“With the familiarization from the sim, I would expect to be comfortable with the layout and flow by the first couple runs, in the first session. Judging from my experience at Detroit, another first for me this year, you only get more comfortable with the circuit as the weekend goes on and the track grips up.

What parts of the track do you think will be the most challenging to get right?

“I think the section coming off the bridge, into the left onto Second Street and the following tight section will be the most challenging. The high-speed braking off the bridge could be bumpy (it was in the sim) and the tight section will be very intense and nearly as tight as the hairpin complex at Long Beach.”

Have you ever raced over water (or on a bridge) before in your career?

“I have not raced over a bridge before, so that will be a new one! I have driven plenty of ski-doos on frozen lakes back home, that’s the closest that I can think of but not sure it counts for much. I don’t think it’s cause for much additional concern. The team who designed the circuit are experienced and are more than capable of putting together a safe venue.”

Have you ever been to Nashville before – either for work or pleasure?

“I have been once, a few years ago my girlfriend Nicole and I spent the weekend there. It was lots of fun. Even though I am not much of a country music fan, I really enjoyed seeing the live acts play. Every venue had such skilled musicians!”

What are you most looking forward to doing in the city when you’re not on the track?

“I am really looking forward to seeing how the city embraces the event. Street circuits are always exciting because you bring the event to the crowd. Nashville knows how to have a good time, so I am really looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere at the track. If we have some downtime, maybe I’ll head over to Martin’s BBQ for some ribs

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