IndyCar Driver Cleared To Race Three Months After Fracturing His Hip And Pelvis In Massive Crash

Photo credit: AP Photo/Greg Huey
Photo credit: AP Photo/Greg Huey

While us normal people like to hang out and maybe sleep a bit after we shatter a bone, pro drivers tend to ask how quickly they can get back in the car they likely got injured in. For Sebastien Bourdais, who fractured his hip and pelvis in a huge Indianapolis 500 qualifying wreck, the answer was less than three months.


After being one of the top drivers in practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ biggest race, Bourdais was on his way to setting the fastest pace of Indy 500 qualifying when he slammed a wall nose first after two of his four qualifying laps, flipping into the air and catching fire. He wound up in a hospital with a fractured hip and multiple pelvis fractures, and underwent same-day surgery.


Autosport reports that Bourdais spent five days in the hospital, and he started his recovery at a rehab facility afterward. He looked to be in good spirits when he left the hospital, but not necessarily in the physical shape to hop back into an Indy car right way:

Racer reported at the time that people close to the team expected Bourdais to miss the rest of the season, but he was already back in an Indy car cockpit in late July for testing. Bourdais tweeted Tuesday night that he was all clear from the doctors to get back in a race car for real this time, but didn’t say when or where he’d make his return.

Autosport reports that Bourdais could be back in IndyCar at Watkins Glen on Sept. 3, but that hasn’t been confirmed. And even if he doesn’t make it around to IndyCar, NBC Sports reports that Bourdais’ return to sports-car racing may be in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the series’ season finale on Oct. 5 through Oct. 7.


Even still, to make a return in the same season as you shattered your midsection is kind of incredible. Professional racers are either superhuman or incredibly stubborn, because we all know we’d still be on the couch asking people to bring us ice cream three months into an injury like this one.

Correction: Bourdais’ rumored return to racing would be in IndyCar first, not IMSA, because September does in fact come before October. Sorry about that.

Staff writer, Jalopnik


Bob LeDrew

I still think of that crash and can’t help but compare it to Gordon Smiley’s. He is one tough sonofabitch, but the cars are miracles of safety compared to those of even a few years ago.