Conquest Racing Year by Year History
Entering its 15th season of professional racing, Conquest Racing will field 20-year-old Izod IndyCar series rookie Sebastian Saavedra in the No. 34 car. The Columbian driver secured three poles and won three races in the Firestone Indy Lights series. British driver Pippa Mann will make her Izod IndyCar series debut with the team in the No. 36 for the Indianapolis 500. Mann became the first woman to win a pole at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Firestone Indy Lights series.
Conquest Racing, known for its development of young, talented drivers, is fielding two rookies for the 2010 season. Mario Romancini, 22, is a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil and former Firestone Indy Lights driver. Bertrand Baguette, 24, hails from Verviers, Belgium and brings with him a 2009 Formula Renault 3.5 Series Championship.
Conquest Racing returned to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2009 to run a partial season with rookie driver Alex Tagliani. During the season Tagliani finished in the top-ten on three of four street course races, lead 21 laps at Toronto, and won Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors with an astonishing 11th place finish after starting in 33rd.
The Conquest Racing team opened up a new chapter in 2008, after it was announced that the Champ Car World Series and IndyCar Series would become one. Conquest is counting on two talented Brazilian drivers this year, Enrique Bernoldi and Jaime Camara.
Eric Bachelart became sole owner of Conquest Racing in 2007 and the team returned to the Champ Car World Series with one entry and two in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship. The season started with New Zealander Matt Halliday behind the wheel of the Conquest car for three races but the highlight of the season for Conquest Racing was a podium finish in Assen, which was preceded by a string of top-tens, with driver Jan Heylen. The second place gave the Champ Car team their second podium finish in the Champ Car World Series. The team finished the season with Frenchman Nelson Philippe, who returned to Conquest for the final two rounds with a best finish of sixth in Surfers Paradise.
In Atlantics, the team counted on young American Matt Lee and Italian Giacomo Ricci. The pair combined to finish in the top-ten 10 times with Ricci rounding out the year sixth in the points standings.
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing returned to the Champ Car World Series with two cars and also entered two in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship. Driving for the team in Champ Car were Atlantic champion Dutchman Charles Zwolsman and Canadian Andrew Ranger, who was returning to the team for the second year in a row. Ranger scored top ten finishes in ten of the 14 races and once again took tenth in the final standings with Zwolsman, who registered a string of seven top tens in a row, rounding out the year in 13th.
On the Atlantic side, Mi-Jack Conquest Racing entered their “rookie” season with American Graham Rahal who was paired with Al Unser III (two races) and Briton Ryan Lewis (nine races). The team produced an Atlantic record of nine-consecutive podium finishes including five wins by Rahal who finished second in the Championship standings, only 16 points out of first place. Rahal also collected four pole positions and combined with Lewis to lead 40 percent of all race laps. In addition, the team reaped post season awards picking up Engineer of the Year, Mechanic of the Year and BBS Rising Star award.
Carrying the youngest driver lineup in Champ Car history, with two 18-year-old drivers, Mi-Jack Conquest Racing scored its best finish in the Champ Car World Series when Canadian Andrew Ranger finished second at Monterrey, Mexico. This feat made Ranger, at the time, the youngest driver to earn a podium in series history. He and teammate Nelson Philippe recorded ten top-ten finishes finishing tenth and 13th respectively in the final standings.
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing came into its sophomore season in Champ Car as a two car team with Formula 3000 Champion and former F1 pilot for Minardi and Jaguar, Justin Wilson, leading the team. The second seat was filled by Brazilian Alex Sperafico (eight events) and Frenchman Nelson Philippe (six events). The teams’ efforts netted a total of five top-five starts and 11 top-ten finishes in just their second season.
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing entered the 2003 season as the new comers to the Champ Car World Series, but quickly found their groove, posting an impressive fourth place finish at the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida. The team clocked in a total of three top-five, and 11 top-ten finishes on the 18-race season with rookie Mario Haberfeld. That same year, Mi-Jack Conquest also ran a team for Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing with Portuguese driver Tiago Monteiro who collected five top-ten results and a best starting position of second.
After the cancellation of the Indy Lights championship, businessman Mike Lanigan joined the team as co-owner and Mi-Jack Conquest Racing was born. The renamed team moved up to run in the IRL IndyCar Series with rookie driver Laurent Redon. The Frenchman scored a thrilling third place finish at California Speedway in just his fifth IRL start. Redon was consistent and finished tenth in the final championship standings winning the 2002 IRL Rookie of the Year honors.
The final season of Indy Lights saw Dane Kristian Kolby join the team, winning the Kansas City race by the smallest margin of victory in open-wheel history at the time. He finished in the top ten of every race he competed for the Conquest Team. Matt Halliday competed in the final nine events of the 12 race series posting two podium finishes and nine top-ten efforts, finishing sixth overall in the driver standings.
The team retained Felipe Giaffone for his third season with the team and Chris Menninga for his second, while adding a third car for Rolando Quintanilla. Giaffone claimed three poles and Menninga one. The team’s first victory came in Michigan at the 2-mile Super Speedway.
Giaffone stayed with the team for 1999 to run alongside American, Chris Menninga. The team claimed their first two pole positions at Long Beach and Milwaukee en route to 17 top-ten finishes.
Expanded to two cars for 1998, running Brazilian Felipe Giaffone alongside Rhode Island native Andy Boss, the team claimed 13 top-ten finishes in the season highlighted by Giaffone’s three second-place finishes on his way to fourth in the championship.
Eric Bachelart founded the team in 1997, running French driver Christophe Tinseau in the Indy Lights Championship. The highlight of the team’s year was a first podium finish at Trois-Rivières, one of three top-five performances on the year.