Conquest to field 2 entries in unified series Following last Friday’s announcement of unification between the Champ Car World Series and the Indy Racing League, it is with great enthusiasm that the Conquest Racing team is today confirming its participation as a two-car team in the 2008 IndyCar® Series season.
“Finally, we have come together as one,” expressed Conquest Racing Owner Eric Bachelart. “It’s been a long time coming and we can now all move ahead in the same direction under one roof. The work is only starting but now that there is solidarity in open-wheel racing it will make it that much easier to take this sport to where it needs to be. It’s a great moment for open-wheel racing in general and for the fans and our sponsors. We are happy to be competing under the Indy Racing League banner with our other fellow ‘Champ Car’ competitors against established IndyCar Series teams and we are also looking forward to the new challenge that this unification brings us.”
The move will be a return of sorts for the open-wheel team. Conquest Racing previously competed in their first full Indy Racing League season in 2002 with Frenchman Laurent Redon. That year, the team not only took home the “Rookie of the Year” honors but also claimed a podium finish at the third race of the season in Fontana, California . Their IndyCar Series debut came in 2001 at Joliet, Illinois where Redon scored a seventh place finish.
Competing for the team in its return to the IndyCar Series will be Frenchman Franck Perera and a teammate that will be named at a later date. Perera finished second in the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda in 2007 and was also named “Rookie of the Year”. He ended the 12-race season only 31 points out of first place, and earned eight consecutive podiums while finishing top-five in all of his races. Perera also completed every lap of 2007, leading 116 of them.
"I am excited that my managers at CJMotorsport were able to work a deal for me to continue with Conquest into the new merged Series. American open-wheel racing will be so much stronger and exciting for the fans having the teams back together again. I look forward to going to Homestead this week for the media activities and then back to Indy to start preparations for the start of the IndyCar Series season. For sure it will not be an easy start for everyone to learn a new car and new tracks but after our great test in Sebring last month I think we have developed great relations within our team to show some strong results very quickly in the Dallara."
Bachelart, who participated as a driver in the 1992 and 1995 Indy 500 races, added: “The first few races won’t be easy, but we gladly accept the challenge. Thankfully we will not be in complete unknown territory having competed in the IRL in 2002. Obviously, the competition level has increased since then and there is a lot of work that needs to be done before we get to the same level as the ‘IRL’ teams, but that’s what racing is all about. We are really excited and can’t wait to get to work on the Dallaras.”
“What fantastic news for the sport of open-wheel racing,” said Anthony Blumberg of Opes Prime, Conquest Racing co-owner. “This will certainly be an interesting and demanding year but this team is ready to take on the task at hand and fight with the rest if them.”
A new chapter now opens in Conquest Racing’s history. Previously, the Indianapolis-based squad had been competing in the Champ Car World Series since 2003. Their Champ Car highlights include podium finishes in 2007 at Assen, Holland with driver Jan Heylen and in 2005 at Monterrey , Mexico with rookie Andrew Ranger. Other drivers that have competed for the outfit are Justin Wilson, Nelson Philippe and Mario Haberfeld. Before competing in the Indy Racing League in 2002, the team that was started by 1991 Indy Lights Champion Eric Bachelart in 1997 participated in the Indy Lights series, scoring a podium finish with driver Christophe Tinseau in the team's first season. Conquest Racing competed in the next four seasons in Indy Lights, winning races with Felipe Giaffone and Kristian Kolby.
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