Mi-Jack Conquest Racing signs Graham Rahal for 2006 Champ Car Atlantic campaign Indianapolis, IN (7 December 2005)-- Mi-Jack Conquest Racing announced today that talented young American Graham Rahal has signed with the Indianapolis-based team to...
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing signs Graham Rahal for 2006 Champ Car Atlantic campaign
Indianapolis, IN (7 December 2005)-- Mi-Jack Conquest Racing announced today that talented young American Graham Rahal has signed with the Indianapolis-based team to contest the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama. Famed race engineer Don Halliday has also signed on to the effort and will work with Rahal, who is looking forward to a competitive Atlantics campaign. Rahal's Champ Car Atlantic effort will be sponsored by Norwalk Furniture, Sparco, Robert Bosch, the CAR Group, and Renier Corporation.
"I am excited about taking the next step up the ladder and racing in Atlantics with Mi-Jack Conquest Racing next season," said sixteen-year-old Graham. "I think we should be very competitive and I hope to rack up some wins and get the championship. Eric (Bachelart) is a great guy, and my dad and I were impressed when we visited the Conquest shop. It's going to be a very competitive championship, but this will be a good situation for me and I am really looking forward to getting in the new car and going racing."
Rahal first started racing karts when he was just eleven years old, winning at the national level in Stars of Karting competition in 2003 before making the move up to race Formula BMW USA in 2004 as a Scholarship Driver. Rahal continued his racing education in 2005, becoming the youngest winner in Star Mazda Pro Series history with a victory in Portland highlighting a strong season that also included six podium appearances for the high school junior.
Another important element of the program will be the guiding presence of driver coach Mike Zimicki, who has worked with Graham since he first made the move into race cars, and to whom Graham owes a lot of his success to.
"He has had a big effect on my racing and we are really close," said Rahal. "He is a great coach, and he has also been like my second dad when there were races that my dad couldn't make it because of his own racing, so I know he is going to be a big help for me again this season."
Following in his father's footsteps, Rahal also became the youngest-ever SCCA National Champion this summer, dominating the SCCA National Run-Offs at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course some thirty years after his father, 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, accomplished the feat in Formula B. The elder Rahal has long been a proponent of the Atlantic category, and is looking forward to seeing Graham continue his progress towards the upper echelons of the sport.
"I have always liked Eric (Bachelart) as a person, and I am impressed with how he goes about his racing," said Rahal. "He's there to win, and I think it's going to be a very good environment for Graham, with everyone focused on racing and winning. We are fortunate to have Don Halliday and Mike Zimicki in the equation working with Eric, and I think Graham is going to have a good chance to be successful. Graham has always been a bit precocious as far as moving up quickly, but all credit goes to him because he's the guy standing on the gas and he has matured quickly, so hopefully this will be another strong season for him."
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing has a long history in the sport of working with young talent and is growing its operations to include a two-car Champ Car Atlantic team as the series debuts a new chassis/engine combination for 2006 and beyond.
"We are excited about having Graham join the team," said team co-owner Eric Bachelart. "He is clearly quite talented, and he is very focused on success at the race track so we feel as though we are going to be in a competitive position right from the start next season. We are happy to have this agreement in place and are working to finalize details with our second Atlantic car."
1991 Indy Lights Champion Eric Bachelart started Conquest Racing in 1997 to compete in the Indy Lights series, scoring a podium finish with driver Christophe Tinseau in the team's first season. Conquest Racing competed in the next four seasons in Indy Lights, winning races with Felipe Giaffone and Kristian Kolby. Mike Lanigan, President of Mi-Jack Products, an intermodal Chicago-based company became a co-owner in 2002. Mi-Jack Conquest Racing contested the 2002 Indy Racing League season with rookie Laurent Redon, netting a podium finish in just the third race of the season and clinching the Rookie of the year award.
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing rejoined the Champ Car family in 2003, stepping up to the Champ Car World Series with Brazilian Mario Haberfeld and scoring eleven top-ten finishes despite competing with a Reynard. Mi-Jack Conquest Racing continued its tradition of working well with young drivers in 2004 as Justin Wilson took second in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year battle, with Nelson Philippe scoring two top-ten finishes after joining the team in the closing stages of the season. The team is looking forward to contesting its fourth season in the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford, and is currently developing its plans for 2006.