Strong 2012 season for Conquest paves way for LeMans go
After a highly successful sportscar debut and rookie season in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron, the Conquest Endurance team continues with its strong momentum after being selected as one of the elite few squads that will receive an automatic entry for the 81st running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans which will take place June 22-23, 2013 at Circuit de la Sarthe.
Conquest is one of only three teams that have been given this special invite by the International Motor Sports Association, sanctioning body of the ALMS, and is now guaranteed one of the highly coveted spots to compete in the LM P2 category of the most famous endurance race in the world.
The Indianapolis based team transitioned from open-wheel competition into endurance racing in 2012, and despite having received their Morgan-Nissan P2 chassis only days before the opening round at Sebring, they managed to quickly adapt to their new environment and became an immediate contender for wins and pole positions. After a string of runner-up finishes, Conquest captured its first series victory at Mosport where drivers Martin Plowman and David Heinemeier Hansson put on an exciting show and took the checkered flag after starting from pole position. The team would continue its strong season with a second victory from pole at Road America, and an additional pole position at VIR.
Throughout the year, Heinemeier Hansson and Plowman were joined by top drivers to complete their lineup during the longer endurance races. Jan Heylen was a last minute addition to the team for the 12 Hours of Sebring and helped them charge to a third place finish in their first ever endurance race. For the six-hour event at Laguna Seca, the Conquest duo shared their #37 car with open-wheel star Antonio Pizzonia who made his sports car debut and stood in the second place on the podium at the northern-California track. Eric Lux was selected to be the third driver for the season-ending Petit Le Mans, the 2011 LMPC champion was part of a dominating performance in which the Conquest machine seemed to be in route to another victory until a flat tire dashed their hopes for a win with only minutes to go in the 1000-mile race.
For the 2012 season the Conquest team developed successful relationships with the top manufacturers in the sports car world. Through their partnership with Oak Racing, Onroak and Morgan, Conquest became the only team in North America to use the Morgan P2 Chassis, and also the official the official distributor of the race-winning machine. When it came to the team’s powerplant, Conquest had an easy choice with the Nissan 4.5L V8 production based machine, which has been the dominant engine in recent years in sportscar competition.
The team’s championship and race-by-race battle with Level 5 Motorsport became an instant fan favorite, and the possibility of capturing the P2 title was still alive up until the closing stages of the season-ending race at Road Atlanta. Conquest would go on to finish second in the championship but their strong showing during the full season has now earned them a spot at the biggest race in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Eric Bachelart Team Principal
“We are very excited to have been one of the few teams selected for an automatic entry to Le Mans. Our team did an amazing job this year and we were able to quickly adapt to a new style of racing, the drivers and the crew kept getting stronger every race and by the end of the season we proved that we can fight for wins against the best teams in the world.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the pinnacle of endurance racing, having a guaranteed entry allows us to start preparing early to make sure that when we show up in June we are an immediate contender for the win. We have had a very strong year and I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish as a team. Our focus now is to put together the strongest possible package for next year so we can carry on with our momentum from 2012.” zzzz