Record updated 24-Jun-06
A former driver in the Toyota Atlantic, CART, and Indy Lights series. He raced in the 1994 CART series with 5 starts. He also raced in the 1997 Indianapolis 500.
Claude Bourbonnais was born in L'Île-Perrot, Quebec, he started Karting in 1983, winning the Rookie of the Year Award and the folowing year winning the Quebec Karting Championship. He also ventured overseas, running in a couple of Internatinal Karting events in Italy.
In 1985 he graduated to single-seaters in the Pro F2000 Canadian Championships. Once again Rookie of the Year in his first season, he stuck with the Formula for five years years, winning the Championship in convincing style in 1988 and 1989.
1990 saw him racing in the Toyota Formula Atlantic Championship in a Reynard 90H. He also raced in the F3000 event at Le Mans. He was picked to work alongside Mario and Michael Andretti as spokesman for Molson Breweries in their Don't Drink and Drive campaign.
1991 was a quiet year with a run in Formula Atlantic at 3 Rivers where he qualified on pole but DNF in the race and a trip to Le MAns for the 24 Hour race in a Courage.
Still working for Molson Breweries in 1992 he competed in a partial British Formula 2 season (F3000) finishing 4th in the Championship, though his budget ran out after just three races.
A better year in 1993 saw Claude back in the Players/Toyota Formula Atlantic Series taking wins in Phoenix, Long Beach, Milwaukee, Mosport, Toronto, Loudon, Vancouver and Nazareth, beating his team mate Jacques Villeneuve 5 times in races where they both finished.
1994 saw Bourbonnais stepping up again, this time into the CART PPG Indycar Series. In a limited effort in a year old car, he made five starts.
He then switched to Indy Lights for 1995 and 1996.
After qualifying with a lap of 210 mph for the 1997 Indy 500, Bourbonnais tagged the wall with the rear of his number 72 Blueprint Racing car. He got high in the marbles coming out of turn two and hit the wall with the left rear of the car. There was rear suspension, sidepod and rear wing damage and he had to drive the car back to the pits dragging the right rear wheel. In the race, which by then had become part of the Indy Racing League, the engine blew on lap 9.