Conquest Racing shines atop the charts in Sebring SEBRING, Florida (February 4, 2008) – Conquest Racing completed their first Champ Car pre-season test of 2008 today by showing their intentions for the upcoming season. The team topped the open test with driver Franck Perera and showed good pace with Simon Pagenaud.
The Conquest Team is heading into a new direction this year with many new team members, including talented engineer Eric Zeto, and a core group that remains intact, with Team Manager Chris Mower , long-time engineer Don Bricker and others, the sixth year team has every intention of contending for the win, week in and week out. The Sebring test is only the beginning and a reflection of their potential as things got off to a very good start.
It was only his fifth day driving a Champ Car but Atlantic standout Franck Perera seemed to have been doing it all his life. The 2007 Atlantic ‘Rookie of the Year’ posted the fastest lap over the three days of testing, beating out the 13 other drivers present in Sebring.
“It’s been great!” exclaimed ‘Fearless Franck’. “Everything is new right now, a new season, a new team, a new track but we did a pretty good three days. It was not easy because we had a short time to prepare everything but I think this is a very strong team with very talented and experienced people. We progressed well, it was like a crescendo, each session we were faster. We tested many things for each phase of a race weekend and we were pretty fast in all of them. It’s good to show that we can already fight with the top guys but there is still more work and preparation to be done before the start of the season.”
On the first day of testing in Sebring, Perera had already posted the fourth fastest time of the day with a lap of 50.986 seconds. The Frenchman continued his progression on day two of the open test remaining in fourth overall but improving his time to 50.495 seconds. The final day is when it all came together and he posted early on a lap of 49.806 that kept him at the top of the timing sheets when the checkered flag fell on the first Champ Car open test of the season.
Testing the second car for Conquest Racing was the 2006 Atlantic Champion Simon Pagenaud. The first day didn’t go quite as expected for the Frenchman, but things got better for him on the second day when he moved up the charts to eighth. He ended the test ninth overall.
“The team has been doing a great job,” said Pagenaud. “Overall we had very good communication throughout the test. We’ve been working really well together and everybody is really enthusiastic. It’s a good team and it’s very enjoyable to work with everybody here. The good thing is that Franck did very good lap times so we know the car is quick and that we have a good set-up. It was a bit more difficult for me as we were unable to find a good comfort level in the car, but the Conquest guys will take a look at the data and I hope that I can be back in Laguna and back up front.”
Conquest Team Owner Eric Bachelart was very satisfied with the performance of his entire team throughout the test.
“We worked really hard these past four weeks just to get ready to run two cars. We have reorganized our engineering department and put a lot of work and effort into preparing this test the best way possible.
“We’re happy to have had two talented drivers to help us out in preparing the season. They both did an excellent job. It’s good to see Franck P1 after only four days in a Champ Car. With Simon, I don’t think his performance reflects his potential. We worked on giving him a set-up and a car that he was comfortable with but we never quite got there with him. Now, we are going to go back to the shop and debrief and get ready for the Laguna Seca test. We have good sponsors behind us this year and the whole team has high ambitions. It’s good to see that we could run at the top at this first test in Sebring.”
The Conquest Racing team will be back on track March 13 and 14 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the second of three pre-season tests.
For more information on Conquest Racing, please visit www.conquestracing.com, on Simon Pagenaud, visit www.simon-pagenaud.com and on Franck Perera please visit www.cjmotorsport.us.