Overtake of the Week – Josef Newgarden

Our latest Overtake of the Week comes from Round 15 of the 2014 IndyCar Series at Mid-Ohio in August. Josef Newgarden, racing for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, pulled off an impressive ‘faking’ manoeuvre to get past Sebastien Bourdais.

This move is a classic overtake. In essence, the driver behind mentally outwits his rival and makes him place his car in a defensive position where his competitor no longer is. This affords the driver behind more room to dive the other side and pull off the pass.

Newgarden in the white car with fluorescent yellow trim was closing on Sebastien Bourdais in the green nosed machine. Battling for second place on the track, the American had stormed through the field and was shaping up to pass the Frenchman.

Coming off a quick right-hander, Newgarden pushed his car to the outside of Bourdais. The four-time Champ Car titleholder glanced in his mirror and began to cover the move of the 23-year old Tennessee native.

Both cars raced down the short shoot to the next turn, a hairpin right-hander. Bourdais, utilising all his experience, positioned his car almost directly in the middle of the track. This seemingly served to cover any attempt from Newgarden to dart to the inside and force him on a longer racing line around the outside of the next corner.

As both drivers entered the braking zone, Bourdais made a legitimate move to the outside to take the normal and fastest racing line and cover Newgarden. As he did so, Newgarden jinked back to the right of the ex-Formula One driver and stamped on the brake pedal.

Initially unsighted, Bourdais began turning in before realising the American had managed to undercut him. Both cars were separated by mere inches as they both fought over the apex of the corner.

However, now holding the inside line and carrying added momentum into the corner, Newgarden slipped ahead and forced Bourdais to take a wider line. Displaying all his years of motor sport experience, the 35-year old decided to give up the place to the hard-charging American and not risk his entire race on this one corner.

Exiting the corner, Newgarden had clearly made the move stick and opened up a few car lengths advantage on Bourdais’ KV Racing Technology entry.

The overtake demonstrated Newgarden’s bravery and opportunism while also highlighting Bourdais’ experience in defending and knowing when to admit defeat.

Newgarden looked set to compete with Scott Dixon for the win at Mid-Ohio before a late error in the pit lane caused him to drop back down the field. Bourdais eventually took the runners-up spot but the race was still memorable for Newgarden and his clever overtake on one of the most experienced drivers in the IndyCar field.

Watch the move in full (at 2:34) here:

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