Conquest Racing has taken another step towards ensuring its continued, and potentially enlarged, participation in the IndyCar Series by agreeing to work with the newly formed Rubicon Sports Agency.
Created by Rubicon Race Team owners Jim Freudenberg and Jason Priestley, the Rubicon Sports Agency focuses on the commercial elements of racing such as sales, marketing, sponsor activation and driver management, and will oversee the Conquest team's commercial department. The new relationship will see Freudenberg take up the role of commercial director at Conquest, working on a daily basis with the team's existing marketing manager, Carlos Gutierrez, and team owner Eric Bachelart to develop a commercial platform to attract and maintain new and existing partners.
“We all know how vital it is in the racing industry to build a strong and successful commercial platform, and partnering with the Rubicon Sports Agency will help us build on what we have,” Bachelart claimed, “The relationship with the Rubicon Sports Agency is a welcome addition to our sales and marketing department and we look forward to working with Jim and Jason. They will not only help us with our immediate marketing efforts, but also work on building our programme for 2010 and beyond.”
After a competitive weekend in St Petersburg, where veteran Alex Tagliani defied his lack of 2009 track time to finish tenth, Conquest has promised further announcements with the Indianapolis 500 approaching, but it is less apparent what the new arrangement means for Rubicon's own race team, which had been rumoured to have the sponsorship to run Buddy Rice in 2009.
"Creating a successful commercial platform for your race team is critical to long term survival in today's environment." Freudenberg wrote on Rubicon Sports Agency's official website, "Jason and I are appreciative of the opportunity Eric has given us to bring our sponsors and platform to Conquest and build for the future."
Rubicon was reported, as long ago as January, to have merged with fellow IRL struggler Pacific Coast Motorsport in an effort to bolster their respective assaults on the series but little had been heard about an IndyCar Series entry until the team's website changed to complement the arrival of the Sports Agency. The merger brought together former Kelley Racing owner Freudenberg and actor-turned-racer Priestley with PCM owner Tyler Tadevic and motorsports attorney - and former Panther Racing co-owner - Doug Boles, but will not now yield its own team. Instead, the addition of Rubicon's sponsors will ensure that Conquest has a strong programme at the 2009 Indianapolis 500 and, if further funding can be attracted, during the rest of the season and into 2010.
"The risk of starting a race team from scratch in this economic time just didn't make sense to Jim and me," Priestley admitted, "The agency allows us to keep growing the commercial business we started last year, keep our partners together, and work with Eric to provide a sound platform for all involved. Eric is a well respected owner in the motorsports community and we are proud to be able to work with him and his team."