Frenchman eyes Champ Car for 2007 UPDATE Guillaume Moreau had a two-day test at the wheel of a Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Champ Car in late November at MSR Houston, Texas. It was supposed to be a tough challenge for the Formula 3 Euro Series regular, considering the fact that the Ford-engined Lola was three times as powerful as an F3 car. He could have also been overwhelmed by the “American way of racing”… But Guillaume proved to be fast and consistent. After this positive experience, the driver and the team will evaluate the possibility to continue to work together in 2007.
Before leaving France, Guillaume was informed that his “teammate” for the test would be Alexandre Prémat, who shined in GP2 and took the A1 Grand Prix World Cup title with the French squad this year. “It was really good news” said Guillaume. “Alex is a very competitive racer, he tested in Formula One recently and he is used to driving powerful single-seater cars. He would be the benchmark of my Champ Car maiden test.” Guillaume’s American dream began at Indianapolis, where the team is based. He was introduced to the team personnel, molded his seat and then could visit the speedway and its museum, before flying to Houston.
On Monday November the 27th, Guillaume completed a couple of laps at the wheel of a Dodge Touring Car, in order to discover the bends and chicanes of the Texan racetrack.
The current Champ Car has a 7-speed sequential gearbox, a 750 hp engine, and it can reach 800 hp thanks to the “push to pass” system. “It’s up to the driver to choose right or left-foot braking. I decided to continue to brake with my left foot, like I did during my GP2 tests” said Guillaume. “My engineer also asked me if I wanted to experience the local way to leave the pit: you have to switch on the “pit limit”, then flat out to put maximum wheelspin and swing the car into a drift in the pitlane… I really enjoyed the technique!”
For they had already tested a Formula 3 driver in the past, the team warned Guillaume: he probably wouldn’t be able to complete more than 30 laps in such a demanding car, on such a bumpy track. According to his record in motor racing, compared to Alex’s, they expected Guillaume to lap 2 seconds off Prémat’s pace. “I have always been very close behind Alex’s times, and even a bit faster on Wednesday morning on new tires. But after 65 laps on Tuesday, and 55 the next day, I began to feel a little tired, especially in Turn 2, a long and high speed corner. So I couldn’t take advantage of the better track conditions at the end of the day, while Alex could. I had made no mistake and didn’t want to waste it all and damage the car.”
Belgian Eric Bachelart, co-owner of the Mi-Jack Conquest Team, was happy with Guillaume’s test. “Guillaume performed very well during the test at Houston. He quickly adapted to driving a Champ Car, and he gave us a good feedback. He was fast and made no mistake. His performance proves he has the potential to enter the Champ Car World Series next year. On the top of that, the team really liked to work with him. His motivation and positive attitude where highly appreciated by everyone. It’s been a pleasure to work together.”
Guillaume was also enthusiast at the time of flying back to Limoges. “Three teams were practicing at MSR Houston, and we constantly topped the timesheets. The relationship with Alex and the team was just great. There is a strong team spirit at Mi-Jack Conquest, and they are really professional. I enjoyed the people, the car, and the concept. All my focus is now on moving into Champ Cars. That is definitely where I want to be in 2007.”
The aim is clear and the package is looking good. The series will use a new chassis next year, and has signed a promising deal with TV broadcasters ABC/ESPN, to bring the excitement of Champ Car racing to a higher number of fans. Two races could be organized in Europe… Will Guillaume follow in Sébastien Bourdais’s footsteps? We should know more in the next couple of weeks.11/11/06 According to AutoRacing1.com sources, Mi-Jack Conquest Racing will test Frenchman Guillaume Moreau on November 28th to the 30th at the MSR track outside of Houston. He recently raced in the EuroF3 series. He has also tested GP2 recently.