CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Conquest Racing preview

Mi-Jack Conquest Racing headed Down Under Surfers Paradise, Australia (21 October 2005) Mi-Jack Conquest Racing will be back in action this weekend for the penultimate round of the 2005 Champ Car World Series in the Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfers...

Mi-Jack Conquest Racing headed Down Under

Surfers Paradise, Australia (21 October 2005) Mi-Jack Conquest Racing will be back in action this weekend for the penultimate round of the 2005 Champ Car World Series in the Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise, Australia, with drivers Nelson Philippe and rookie Andrew Ranger looking to close out the season on a high note in the last two rounds.

With a large and passionate fan base visiting the sea-side track every year, the 2.795-mile temporary street circuit has been a highlight fixture on the Champ Car World Series schedule since 1991. Both Mi-Jack Conquest Racing cars took top ten finishes in the 2004 event, and the team is looking forward to the being competitive once again.

The Lexmark event has long been a driver favorite, with the drivers relishing the challenge of the circuit while also enjoying the festive atmosphere that the Australians create around the event.

"Australia is definitely the most fun place we race at this year," said Philippe. "It is very fun since Australian fans, especially Queenslanders, are flat out crazy and put on a show of their own. They really know how to start a party!! Everybody appreciates coming to race, and to me there is no better feeling than to be racing for people who love it."

Philippe, who took tenth place in his Surfers debut last season, isn't just looking forward to the environment, as once he puts his helmet on he knows that he is taking on a very fast and technical track.

"On a more serious note, the track is by far the best street track and my favorite on the schedule, it's very bumpy, tight and technical. A good balance will be needed to go through the back straight chicane. With only two races to go, I am determined to get a great result to end the season on a high. Everybody in Indianapolis has been working really hard and I will push myself all the way to give them the result they deserve. Beautiful girls, sunny weather, great racing, and fans with an appetite for a good time... who wouldn't call Surfer's Paradise their favorite race?"

The race weekend will mark the Australian race debut for young rookie Andrew Ranger, who set a Champ Car record earlier this season for being the youngest driver on a Champ Car podium by taking a second-place finish in just his second Champ Car race. Ranger is relishing taking to the distinctive chicanes that line the Surfers circuit, as he has been a fan of the race as long he can remember.

"As a fan watching the Champ Car World Series growing up, this was one race that I just couldn't afford to miss -- even though it aired late in the night -- because it always made for tense moments and great action," said Ranger. "Whether it was weather-related or simply because the championship was on the line, the only thing you knew for sure was to expect the unexpected. My main objective this weekend is to bring the car home and collect as many points as possible, because I wouldn't want us to travel this far for a DNF, although you can't control everything, especially on this track. Who knows, if history is any indication, we may be in for a pleasant surprise since this event has seen 14 different winners in 14 years!"

Mi-Jack Conquest Racing co-owner Eric Bachelart, who himself raced on the track in 1992 and 1995 as a Champ Car driver, enjoys the trip Down Under as well and will be looking for another strong performance out of his team this weekend.

"We were competitive here last season with both cars getting top-ten finishes and we have improved our technical program significantly since this time last season, so we are optimistic that we can be strong again with Nelson and Andrew," said Bachelart. "There are still a lot of points available in the last two races, and we would like to see Nelson and Andrew both move up to close out the season."

Preparing to race on the other side of the world presents a unique set of logistical challenges for the Champ Car teams, but the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team is ready to go for its third Surfers Paradise race since entering Champ Car competition in 2003.

"The team puts in hours and hours of extra effort to prepare for a fly-away race like this," said Mi-Jack Conquest Racing co-owner Mike Lanigan. "But the entire Surfers weekend is a special one for Champ Car and the passion of the Australian fans really adds to the atmosphere for everybody. This is an important race for the series and we are glad to be a part of this tradition in the sport."

October 23, 4:30 PM ET, Speed Channel, preceded by qualifying show at 4:00 ET.

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.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Justin Wilson , Felipe Giaffone , Christophe Tinseau , Laurent Redon , Nelson Philippe , Andrew Ranger , Kristian Kolby
Teams Conquest Racing