IndyCar Series regular Conquest Racing will make a surprise detour on its way to the non-championship IRL race in Australia, having agreed to provide 'personnel, engineering and logistical support' to the Team LNT Ginetta-Zytek effort at Petit Le Mans.
Having switched from Champ Car to IndyCar following March's reunification of US open-wheel racing, the American Le Mans Series 'project' should be a smaller undertaking for Eric Bachelart's team, but provides some interesting pointers for the future.
While this will be Conquest's first venture into the sportscar series, Bachelart is hoping that the team can learn as much as possible with the possible intention of eventually having a bigger presence in the series in the near future.
“We're very pleased to support and help the LNT Zytek Group for Petit Le Mans,” the ex-pat Belgian commented, "We are definitely looking to get involved in the American Le Mans Series in 2009, on top of our IndyCar Series programme, and this is a great opportunity to learn about the series from the inside.”
Conquest would not be the first IndyCar outfit to branch out into sportscars, with Andretti Green Racing and Team Penske already frontrunners in the LMP2 class of the ALMS and Chip Ganassi Racing a championship winner in Grand-Am. The team has struggled to make an impact following the hurried conversion from Champ Car, despite some impressive performances from rookie Jaime Camara, but will return with a two-car IRL effort in 2009, with veteran Alex Tagliani possibly coming into partner the young Brazilian.
British outfit Team LNT is making its return to the American Le Mans Series at the Road Atlanta marathon, having announced last week that it was entering a rebadged Ginetta-Zytek LMP1 car in the 1000-mile event. The car will be driven by Porsche Supercup frontrunner Danny Watts and a second, as yet unnamed, driver.