IN (February 4)—Mi-Jack Conquest Racing confirmed today that
Nelson Philippe will return to the team for the 2005 season.
Philippe, who joined the team during the 2004 season and
promptly posted a run of strong finishes, was the youngest
driver ever to make a Champ Car start at just seventeen years
old, and the Frenchman is looking to continue his forward
progress up the grid that he started with MJCR last season.
“I am excited to have Nelson returning to the cockpit of the
MJCR Lola for the 2005 season,” said team owner Eric Bachelart.
“Last year was a good learning year for Nelson, I believe in his
talents and I know he has a lot of potential. I am pleased that
we have the chance to sign Nelson early, as we can now begin
building our future with him,” said Bachelart.
Philippe rocketed from the Barber Dodge ranks up to Champ Car,
and demonstrated remarkable poise and control as he adapted to
the high speeds and big power that the Champ Cars offer, and
Philippe is looking forward to working with MJCR again for 2005.
am excited to be returning with MJCR,” said Philippe. “I really
enjoyed the technical development side within the team, and know
that MJCR has been working hard during the off season to allow
us to be in a competitive position this year. I learned a lot
last season, and I am looking forward to getting back to racing
Don Bricker, who worked with Justin Wilson last season, will be
Philippe’s engineer, and the team is looking forward to the new
pairing as an important development towards the teams future.
is an impressive young man, and its absolutely remarkable how
much progress he has made in a short time in Champ Car,” said
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing co-owner Mike Lanigan. “He’s an exciting
character on and off the track, and we are proud to have him
represent us again this season.”
With the 2005 Champ Car World Series scheduled to get underway
at Long Beach in two months time, the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing
team has been a flurry of activity as the team prepares for the
season with several staffing additions helping to move the team
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing has added several new employees during
the off-season, and Bachelart is working to put the team in a
position to be consistently contending at all of the different
types of circuits that the Champ Car World Series visits-short
ovals, super speedways, and natural and temporary street
“We have made extensive investments during the off-season to
increase our technical capabilities, and having Nelson return to
the team will be very positive to build continuity in our
technical program and build on the relationship we developed
with him last season,” said Bachelart.
One significant hiring was the addition of Bruce Ashmore to the
team. Ashmore designed the all-conquering Lolas that took the
Champ Car Championships in 1990, 1991, and 1992 before moving on
in 1994 to enjoy success in his executive role with Reynard.
Ashmore will be bringing his considerable technical and race day
experience to bear as the team continues to develop their
engineering and development program with the team Lolas.
The technical side of the program is not the only part of the
equation that has kept the Mi-Jack shops busy with activity this
winter, as team owner Bachelart has been working to strengthen
the teams commercial prospects as well.
“We are in ongoing discussions with a potentially significant
new team partner, and hope to have some positive results from
these discussions,” said Bachelart. “It has been a very busy
off-season for us, but it’s an exciting time as we look forward
to the 2005 season.”
The signing of Philippe and the improvements to the teams
infrastructure demonstrate that Bachelart believes in the future
of Champ Car.
“Champ Car management has moved the series forward, and with the
new television package and the very exciting schedule, we are
very much looking forward to the season and bringing a
competitive package to every race weekend.”
1991 Indy Lights Champion Eric Bachelart started Conquest Racing
in 1997 to compete 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. Mike Lanigan, President of Mi-Jack Products, an
intermodal Chicago-based company became a co-owner in 2002.
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing contested the 2002 Indy Racing League
season with rookie Laurent Redon, netting a podium finish in
just the third race of the season and clinching the Rookie of
the year award.
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing rejoined the Champ Car family in 2003,
stepping up to the Champ Car World Series with Brazilian Mario
Haberfeld and scoring eleven top-ten finishes despite competing
with a Reynard. Mi-Jack Conquest Racing continued its tradition
of working well with young drivers in 2004 as Justin Wilson took
second in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year battle, with Nelson
Philippe scoring two top-ten finishes after joining the team in
the closing stages of the season. The team is looking forward to
contesting its third season in the Champ Car World Series
powered by Ford, and is currently developing its plans for 2005.
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