Can Conquest finally beat the establishment to get again onto the podium? Jan Heylen, ...
Can Conquest finally beat the establishment to get again onto the podium?
Jan Heylen, #34 Grand Prix of Belgium, is the sole driver of Champ Car's only one-car team in the series and ready for his breakthrough race. Jan has not yet finished a race this year however Heylen and Conquest Racing have shown competitiveness and qualified 8th at the last race in Toronto ahead of Paul Tracy or Robert Doornbos, who is leading the championship. Unfortunately, Jan has ended up the victim in most of the crashes he has been involved in which has hindered his race completion record. So, can Conquest make it all the way onto the podium this season?
Conquest Racing has endured 5 crashes in the first 7 races, has one of the smallest operations budgets in Champ Car and may be currently considered the underdogs of the series. The small but devoted crew who works closely with Jan is confident in his potential and is certain that a podium finish will happen once he can run without incident. Despite the fact that Champ Car is a spec series and everyone has a DP01 chassis and a Cosworth engine, not all teams are created equal. However Eric Bachelart, Conquest Racing Team Owner, does not feel that their smaller budget will keep them from competing with the larger teams.
"While we may have one of the smallest budgets and be one of the smallest teams, we have worked very hard to get our most recent eighth position qualifying and see great potential for a top six finish once we can avoid any crashes. We have a very dedicated and hard-working team that is diligently working with Jan to get that result".
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".
"The crew has been great to work with and have helped me to be comfortable in the new DP01 quickly and with a minimal amount of testing. The potential is there and now we just need to take it to the next level and avoid any accidents".
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.
With the experience that Eric and the rest of Conquest Racing bring to the team, they are confident that Jan's breakthrough performance is just around the corner.