CHAMPCAR/CART: San Jose: Conquest Racing preview

With First Finish under his Belt, Heylen Training for more Top-Ten Races Jan Heylen, ...

With First Finish under his Belt, Heylen Training for more Top-Ten Races

Jan Heylen, #34 Grand Prix of Belgium, finished his first race of the 2007 season on Sunday scoring a top-ten performance at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton. His finish was a hard earned lesson in the fitness required to handle a race car but with this first finish, Heylen can now focus on moving his way up to more top-ten finishes and strengthening his performance.

This weekend, Jan learned that returning to running 96 laps, a complete race, in a Champ Car isn't just like riding a bike but riding one sure can help. A lot of training is required to maneuver all 1565 lbs. total weight of the car and driver around a race track for just under two hours of the event. While some drivers travel with their trainers or spend hours in a gym on a treadmill or elliptical machine, Jan prefers to take as much of his training outdoors as he can on a road bike.

Driving a car may not seem too difficult or too physically demanding but when you have 750 horsepower in a Cosworth supercharged 2.65 liter V-8 and a top speed of 240-mph, your going to have to use all of your strength to make it around every tight corner and through every fast straightaway. While Jan is in Northern California, he will be taking advantage of the beautiful and challenging roads by taking his Giant road bike for a few rides in wine country. He along with other Champ Car and Atlantic Series drivers have been known to take to the open road to bike over 70 miles a day working both strength and cardio fitness training during his trips.

"I really enjoy training outdoors when I can," said Heylen. "It is a great way to train because it works so many different aspects of the body. Drivers have to be constantly preparing because you can't fall behind with the steady race schedule. I keep my bike with me on the road and then I can ride wherever the events take me. Bruno and I already had some great trips in Mont Tremblant, Canada and we're looking forward to exploring the roads around San Francisco and San Jose."

Having only started his 2007 season in June, Heylen missed out on driving the first three races in Las Vegas, Long Beach and Houston but he doesn't see it holding him back. "I would have liked to race in the first three races but it just didn't work out for me. I don't, however, think that I am at a huge disadvantage starting in Portland. It was the first race for everyone in the field to experience a standing start".

"I have been using my cycling to try to catch up to the rest of the field in fitness and the fact that I can cycle anywhere is a great advantage to me. I'm hoping that I can use that training to increase my potential and take my on-track performance to the next level and make it to a top-six finish."

Conquest Racing was founded in 1997 by former Indy Lights Champion Eric Bachelart. The team competed and won races in the Indy Lights series from 1997 through 2001, in the Indy Racing League in 2002 before joining the Champ Car World Series in 2003. Conquest Racing has a tradition of developing young drivers and runs two entries in the Champ Car Atlantic Series Championship (where they finished second in 2006 with Graham Rahal) in addition to their Champ Car team.

Jan Heylen and the rest of the Conquest Racing team are confident that he can reach his fitness goals and be ready to compete in the second half of the race season.

Event Information:

The ninth round of the 2007 Champ Car World Series will be a three day festival of speed at the Redback Raceway for the San Jose Grand Prix on July 27th through the 29th. The green flag drops at 3:00 p.m. PST, 6:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, July 28th. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 6:00 p.m. EST.

-credit: cr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jan Heylen
Teams Conquest Racing