He's Back! Nelson Philippe Returns to Conquest Racing Team Popular French driver returns to the Champ Car World Series to defend his Australia title this month with the support of Juniper Property Development Group INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana...
He's Back! Nelson Philippe Returns to Conquest Racing Team
Popular French driver returns to the Champ Car World Series to defend his Australia title this month with the support of Juniper Property Development Group
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (October 3, 2007) -- Nelson Philippe, the popular French driver who was the youngest driver to ever start and win a Champ Car World Series race, will return to his former team, Conquest Racing. Philippe will defend his title this month at Surfers Paradise, Australia in the blue and white livery of Australian based Juniper Property Development Group. Additionally, the 21-year-old Philippe will compete in the Champ Car season finale in Mexico City in November.
"I'm thrilled to be back, and no better time than now with Surfers Paradise around the corner [October 21]," said Philippe, who earned his first career title in Australia last year. "It's been a challenge to be sidelined this year, but things happen for a reason and right now it's full steam ahead for Australia and Mexico."
Philippe made 19 starts for Eric Bachelart's Conquest Racing in 2004 and 2005. He raced in 2006 for CTE-HVM Racing, where he earned his first podium finish at Milwaukee, second podium finish in Montreal, and his first career win at Surfers Paradise. Nelson finished the season ranked fourth in the series. While driving for Conquest in 2005, Philippe was voted by his peers as the Bosch Most Improved Driver in the Series, and won the award last year as well.
"It's great to have Nelson back where he belongs with Conquest and Champ Car," said Conquest Racing team owner Eric Bachelart. "He was a great driver during his three years with the Series. We expect he will do very well despite his time away from the racetrack. He's a skilled, smart driver who knows how to win."
"We are also proud to announce our partnership with Juniper Group. Juniper represents exceptional commitment to world class development, linking prestige properties and prestigious racing. We are thrilled to be joining forces with this great company" finished Bachelart.
Shaun Juniper, Managing Director -- Juniper Development Group, Australia said "We are excited to be involved with Nelson Philippe and Eric Bachelart from Conquest Racing for the Champ Car race on the Gold Coast later this month. Juniper is a major property developer in Australia and in particular in Queensland where the race is being held. It's one of the most exciting events in Australia and for Juniper to be involved with last year's winner is really something special."
"As well as being an international star, Nelson has been embraced by the Gold Coast community since winning last year's Lexmark Indy 300,'' Mr Juniper said.
``While he will be aiming for back-to-back crowns, Soul Surfers Paradise snared pole position the moment we secured such a spectacular beachfront locations at Surfers Paradise.''
"Juniper's Soul Surfers Paradise development has been carving a reputation for itself on the world stage and that will only be reinforced when Nelson lines up on the starting grid wearing Juniper's colours," Mr Juniper said.
An avid motorsport enthusiast, Mr Juniper competes in the Australian Carrera Cup championship and has raced in international events in Malaysia and Germany this year.
Philippe will get re-acquainted with the Champ Car DP01 later this week during testing at Putnam Park just outside of Indianapolis. A quick learner, Philippe took the green flag at Long Beach in 2004 at the age of 17.
"A star returns, and we couldn't be more pleased," said Champ Car President & CEO Steve Johnson. "Nelson lit up the Series last year with enhanced skills and his effervescent personality. I've been receiving emails all year long from fans asking, 'When are you going to get Nelson back in a Champ Car?' It took longer than we all hoped, but better late than never. We are sorry that the opportunity came at the expense of another driver, Jan Heylen, but we hope to see Jan back in Champ Car real soon"
"While we're pleased to get Nelson back into the Conquest fold, we are disappointed that it must come at Jan's expense", added Bachelart. "We simply are not equipped at this point to run two cars and the change is not a reflection on Jan's performance or professionalism. Indeed, Jan earned a podium finish for Conquest in Assen and proved to everyone that he is an exceptional talent."