(Reuters) – James Davison said it will be bittersweet to fill in for the injured Sebastien Bourdais at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday but plans to do his best despite limited preparation time.
Davison completed 88 laps on the sprawling 2.5 mile oval speedway on Monday, with a best speed of 223.670 mph.
It was the first time in two years the 30-year-old Australian, who has two previous starts in the race, was in the cockpit of an Indy car.
“It’s certainly mixed emotions,” Davison told IndyCar of replacing Bourdais. “No racing driver ever wants to secure an opportunity under these circumstances.
“I got to know Sebastien a little better when I was living in St. Petersburg a couple of years ago, and we were teammates together at KV Racing in 2014 when I was a rookie. He was very good to me there.”
The 38-year-old Bourdais slammed head-on into the safety barriers when his Honda-powered car lost control on Saturday during qualifying.
Bourdais, who drives for Dale Coyne Racing, underwent surgery for pelvic fractures, officials said on Sunday.
Team owner Dale Coyne told IndyCar that Bourdais may not race again this year.
“He’s got a plate, screws in his hip bone and plate on his pelvis. … So it’s at least 12 weeks, which may get him ready for Sonoma (in September), but why run one race?” he said.
“Let him rehab for the other four months and get ready to go for next year. Have him out and in January start testing with him and go at it.”