Conquest Racing press release
New Team Ready For A Long Day
Depending on what a person is doing, once around the clock (12 hours) can go by quickly. Then again, ‘quickly’ is a relative term. Watching the opening round of NCAA’s March Madness can make 12 hours go by quickly. On the other hand, 12 hours of listening to American Idol rejects could be excrutiatingly long – and painful – for many.
Race car drivers Martin Plowman, David Heinemeier Hansson and Francesco Dracone will find out Saturday, March 17, just how long 12 hours racing around the bumpy and grueling 3.74-mile Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway can feel like. The trio will be driving the No. 37 Conquest Endurance Morgan-Judd P2 car in the 60th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.
It’s a race on a bone-jarring circuit that can take it’s toll on cars, bodies and emotions. But over 12 hours, anything can happen.
It’s the debut race in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón for the Conquest Endurance team, based in Indianapolis, and owned by long-time IndyCar owner Eric Bachelart.
Plowman qualified the Conquest Endurance ALMS P2 prototype for the team in a shortened and frenetic qualifying session Friday. A crowded track added to the bedlam, and when the dust settled, Plowman qualified 17th out of 63 cars participating in qualifications for the historic race. His lap of 1 minute, 52.493 seconds (119.687 mph) ranked seventh in their P2 class.
As are the drivers, most of the Conquest Endurance team are rookies in the Twelve Hours of Sebring. Most of them have been down in Sebring for more than a week. They’ve spent long hours preparing their brand new race car for its debut. But until the checkered flag drops Saturday night, none of them know for sure just how long 12 hours at Sebring really is.
Conquest Racing Sebring Qualifying Quotes
Martin Plowman “It was a very short qualifying session, that’s for sure. I think it’s, for me, not the result that I would hope for. The team is relatively happy. We’re quite a bit faster than what we’ve done earlier this week, but if I were happy with the result then the team would have the right to fire me. We want the pole and we want to win, and we’ll never be really happy unless we’re there. For me, the biggest adjustment about this type of qualifying is getting used to this kind of tire. The 37 has a very good race pace and rhythm, but these Dunlop tires have two laps when they’re at their very peak, then they drop off. Having said that, it’s a 12-hour race so we can’t be too upset about it. After 40 minutes into the race, the qualifying order will be all changed up anyway. This is only the outer skin of the race, and we’re getting in to the real deal tomorrow.”
David Heinemeier Hansson “I’m pretty happy with the whole progress. We’re up against guys who have been doing this for a long time; teams who have been racing in this event before. It’s great that we’ve shown good pace, and I think we have a car that seems to be reliable and able to go the distance. I’m excited for the 12 Hours. I just love where we are in terms of pace. There are classes of cars that are faster than us and cars that are slower than us. It’s going to be nuts tomorrow.”
Eric Bachelart “Qualifying is not a big deal for Sebring, and everything is ready to go. We’re ready for the show tomorrow. We have to start tomorrow with Martin because he qualified, then we are going to David and then Francesco. We’ll figure our strategy out from there. We have had a smooth week so far. The car is very reliable and very competitive, which are all good things. Tomorrow will be the first endurance race for Conquest, and the first for our drivers. We are going to be busy and learn a lot, but mostly we want to stay out of trouble and finish the race to build for the season.”
Conquest Racing Sebring Qualifying/Race Notes
•Conquest Endurance owner Eric Bachelart told media Thursday that he still is an IZOD IndyCar Series team owner and is working on a package that will debut in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indianapolis 500. Both Conquest Endurance, his ALMS team, and Conquest Racing, his IndyCar team, will operate from his Indianapolis headquarters. Bachelart has been a team owner in U.S. open wheel racing since 1996.
•After qualifying, Bachelart talked about the challenges his team faced in preparing for the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The team took delivery of its Morgan chassis one week ago here in the paddock of Sebring International Raceway. Since most of his crew has no experience working on prototypes, Bachelart said the week has been a learning experience.