Three Formula BMW Standouts Excel at Test with Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Atlantic Team Indianapolis, Indiana, October 9, 2006 -- Americans Matt Lee and Robert Thorne and Canadian Adrien Herberts jumped aboard a Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Atlantic...
Three Formula BMW Standouts Excel at Test with Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Atlantic Team
Indianapolis, Indiana, October 9, 2006 -- Americans Matt Lee and Robert Thorne and Canadian Adrien Herberts jumped aboard a Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Atlantic car last week at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California. The three Formula BMW USA standouts impressed with similar lap times and they put in very good performances for their first time in a Mazda-Cosworth/Swift 016.a car. History was also made at Buttonwillow as the Conquest Atlantic squad became the first team to test the new Cooper Tires, the Official Tire supplier for the Champ Car Atlantic Championship starting next season.
"I'm really pleased with how the test went," said Eric Bachelart, co-owner of the Mi-Jack Conquest Atlantic Team. "All three drivers had very good driving techniques and provided us with excellent feedback. Not one of them put a wheel wrong during the two days. They did a great job and they definitely have potential and a lot of talent.
"We are also glad to have had the chance to test and evaluate the new Cooper Tires and work on finding a good set-up for the car with the new tires," continued Bachelart. "The Cooper Tires proved to be very consistent and they performed well. We look forward to racing with them next season."
All three drivers liked working with the team, enjoyed their time in the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Atlantic cars and hope to be in the Champ Car Atlantic Series next season.
Before joining the BMW Series in 2005, 17-year-old Adrien Herberts, competed for five years in Quarter Midgets winning a Regional Championship. He also raced go-karts and Formula TR where he became the youngest Canadian driver to compete at that Pro Formula Level. Herberts returned to the Formula BMW USA Series in 2006. He ended the season with two podiums and four top-ten finishes in 14 races.
The Canadian was having a great time and doing very well during his two half-days of testing in the Atlantic car but a problem with the gearbox put a very early end to his session on Thursday. "It was a really good test for us. It was my first experience in this type of car and I was really happy to do it in the Mi-Jack Conquest car because it is one of the best. It took me a few laps to get used to the new found power but after that I was able to push hard and do quick laps. (About the car) It was awesome driving the Atlantic car. It has great grip and amazing braking, it's like being punched in the stomach," said an enthused Herberts.
Matt Lee is a 16-year-old American who competed in his second season in the Formula BMW USA Series this year. He scored three victories, seven podiums and five pole positions in 14 races on his way to a runner-up finish in the Championship. In 2005, he represented the United States at the Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain and competed in his first season in Formula BMW USA, finishing 16th in his rookie season racing cars. He also raced in the World Karting Association and Stars of Karting in 2004 and was crowned the National Champion in the Junior HPV class in 2003.
"I really like how the car goes. The acceleration and the braking are great. It didn't take me too long to get up to speed and by the second day I felt right at home just like in my Formula BMW car. I started by taking a few warm up laps on the first day with a set of old tires then we moved on to the new Cooper Tires and did some tire testing. I think we found a good baseline set-up with the new tires," explained Lee. "The team is great and well organized and I enjoyed my two days of testing with them."
The third driver testing the Conquest Atlantic car was 16-year-old Robert Thorne who progressed nicely over his two mornings of testing. A rookie in the Formula BMW USA Series this season, Thorne had a best finish of fifth and four top-ten finishes. He was one of the five drivers to earn a scholarship from BMW to compete in their Series in '06. The American participated in numerous karting events from 2000 to 2004 in the World Karting Association as well as the Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow series bringing home seven national titles.
"My first half-day of testing was really interesting. I was getting used to the car and how to drive it properly. It definitely has more acceleration and better braking than the Formula BMW and the steering effort is much less which surprised me," said Thorne. "I was a little shaky on the first morning but my second morning went much better. We made changes that helped me out a lot and I was able to push harder and go much quicker. I put everything I could into it and I did my best."
The Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team will continue preparing for the 2007 season with more testing in the coming months.
-credit: mi-jack conquest racing