Newman/Haas, Conquest IndyCar teams to move to ALMS UPDATE
Despite being absent from this week’s Sebring Winter Test, Conquest Racing’s expansion into the American Le Mans Series is still going ahead as planned, with its new Morgan-Judd LMP2 car expected to make its debut at next month’s 60th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
|Long time Champ Car and IndyCar team owner Eric Bachelart forced to move team to the ALMS|
Speaking to SPEED.com Wednesday at Sebring International Raceway, team principal Eric Bachelart said he expects the driver lineup for the ALMS season-opener to be finalized by the end of this week.
"Hopefully in the next few days we'll have some confirmation,” Bachelart said. “I'd say we're pretty close with what we're doing, but we're not totally there yet. The car was a bit delayed but it's almost built now, so we should be doing some testing in France, if the weather is OK and then send the car to Sebring.”
Bachelart said he expects the cost-capped Oak-Pescarolo prototype, now badged as a Morgan, to be shipped to the U.S. on March 1, with the team taking part in the full week of testing and practice ahead of the race.
While Conquest Endurance still plans a full-season effort, Bachelart admitted the car could see a switch to a different powerplant for the remainder of the year. Time constraints has limited its option to Judd only for Sebring, according to the veteran IndyCar team owner.
"We have to see about the competition," Bachelart said. "Obviously [Level 5] has a good game. It's the first year but we want to show the potential of the new Morgan LMP2. Hopefully we'll make the car competitive and go from there. This is all new to us, so I want to be humble about it." Speedtv.com12/03/11 Don’t count Newman/Haas Racing out quite yet.
“The team remains in business,” NHR General Manager Brian Lisles told SPEED.com Friday afternoon.
Despite Thursday’s shocking announcement, Lisles and NHR owners Carl and Bernie Haas will press ahead as they seek new opportunities and adjust to life after IndyCar.
With a few irons in the fire, NHR is keeping its doors open and maintaining a limited number of staff as it attempts to write a new chapter in the team’s illustrious history.
“Yes the race shop is open and Newman/Haas Racing remains in business,” Lisles continued. “As you can imagine there is a substantial amount of work to reorganize everything related to running in the IndyCar Series. That will keep us busy for a while and then will be followed by some new racing projects that I cannot discuss at the moment.”
Although Lisles wouldn’t be drawn on where he hopes NHR will reappear, rumors have linked the team to a possible American Le Mans Series program, and John Dagys, SPEED.com’s ace sports car reporter, has been tracking an as-yet unnamed team that is said to be fielding a Honda-powered Lola LMP2 prototype. Could NHR be that team?
“As we said in our press release yesterday, we are not entering the 2012 IndyCar Series," said Lisles. "I cannot discuss our other plans at this time, but we plan to stay in racing.” More at speed.com