“I can’t believe we’re already starting our fifth year of Champ Car competition and our 11th as a team," said team owner Eric Bachelart. “Every year seems like a new beginning but this season with a new car and a new look it really feels like the start of a new era. Then again, there is plenty of continuity when you look at the team members, from our engineering staff to our mechanics, most of them have been here since the beginning through the good times and the more difficult ones. I think our performance in pre-season testing is a testament to their hard work."
Bachelart believes that it should be a very interesting start to the season, not just because it starts in Las Vegas but because all the teams are on a level playing field. He is also happy to count on a talented driver like Matt Halliday to help them take on the new challenge that is the 2007 season.
It might be rookie Halliday’s first Champ Car race with the Conquest team but it won’t be the first time that the New-Zealander drives for the Indianapolis-based squad as he piloted their Indy Lights entry in 2001. Since then the driver who competes in the A1GP Series in the off-season, has been dreaming of driving in the Champ Car World Series.
“I am very happy to be going to Las Vegas this weekend to compete in the Champ Car race," expressed Halliday. “Eric and I have been talking for a long time trying to make this happen and finally it has. I’m really looking forward to it, it should be a great experience and starting the season in Las Vegas at a new venue also helps because I won’t be at a disadvantage by not knowing the track. It will still be important however to gain as much knowledge as possible about the car because I did not get as much time in the car as most of the other drivers but I think we can do well at this first race."
Halliday and the Conquest team will get plenty of support this weekend as Sponsor 42 BELOW and Bacardi will have a good contingent of people on-site for the debut of the 42 BELOW Conquest DP01.
The action starts Friday morning with the first practice session of the season at 11:50 a.m., followed by the first round of qualifying at 5:00 p.m. Saturday the DP01s will return to the track at 12:45 p.m. and the final round of qualifying will get underway at 5:00 p.m. The green flag drops on the season opening race at 4:00 p.m. and will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 3:30 with a pre-race show (all times eastern).