Eric Bachelart could be logging plenty of air miles next year with a pair of open-wheel and sports car programs in the works. As the Belgian told RACER on Wednesday, he’s getting close to a GT program in the Pirelli World Challenge series, and has also confirmed Conquest Racing’s return to the Indy Lights series.
Bachelart, who launched his driving career in the U.S. after winning the 1991 Indy Lights title, says his team has been preparing for new challenges after sitting out most of 2013 and all of 2014.
“We have been active recently – we moved to a new shop, remodeled everything, and we’re definitely going to go racing in Indy Lights next season so the new shop will be perfect for this project,” he said. “We have been involved with Dallara and Dan Andersen with testing the new Indy Lights prototype, and I’m really impressed with the car. We decided it was a good time to go back to open-wheel racing in Indy Lights and we’ve been talking with some promising drivers who want to do the series.”
Conquest joins Indy Lights titans Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, defending champions Belardi Racing, and 8Star Motorsports among those who’ve publically committed to the series. More team announcements are expected in the coming days and weeks.
“Racing is a business for me, and it must make sense first as a business,” Bachelart explained. “It’s a crazy business sometimes, but I like what I see with the new series. Maybe it’s a step to bring Conquest Racing back to IndyCar, but the budgets were too much to continue [with the Dallara DW12]. It’s early days, but I’m confident Indy Lights will become strong like it used to be.”
Next up for Conquest will be taking part in the group Indy Lights test approximately two months from now in Florida.
“That’s what we are working towards, and we should have some good news by then on our complete plans,” Bachelart added.
Conquest successfully ran Felipe Giaffone (BELOW, LAT photo) in Indy Lights 1998-2000, and also achieved several wins with Graham Rahal (BOTTOM, LAT photo) in the Atlantic Championship in 2006, when it was a feeder series for Champ Car.