Conquest Racing has announced that it has signed a deal to become the importer and distributor for the OAK-Pescarolo sportscars in the US, and is setting up a new subsidiary called Conquest Endurance in order to field a one-car entry in the 2012 American Le Mans Series LMP2 category.
"For the Conquest organization this is an important step as we expand our operations and can now be a part of two of the most important racing series in North America," said team principle Eric Bachelart. "It will be a busy off-season but we are excited about to the challenge!”
The 2012 OAK-Pescarolo LMP2 car is a newly developed sports-prototype complying with the ALMS LMP2 cost-capping regulations and with the FIA's latest safety upgrades. The ar will be available for sale in the new year and will be compatible with all current LMP2 engine manufacturers.
Conquest Endurance has already worked with the OAK-Pescarolo car during a test at Sebring International Raceway earlier this month, and the car's formal testing program will begin in January with a Nissan engine. Fans will have their first chance to see the car in action at Sebring International Raceway during the American Le Mans Series winter test on February 8-9.
“We are very excited to have this partnership between Conquest Endurance and OAK Racing," said Bachelart. "The OAK-Pescarolo car has proven to be a success in Europe and now we look forward to showcasing its speed and reliability here in the United States. We are confident that this will be the chassis to have in ALMS for 2012 and beyond."
“Endurance racing is experiencing a lot of growth in the United States and the LMP2 category is poised to conquer a new place in the North American market," said OAK Racing team owner Jacques Nicolet. "I am very pleased to be working with Eric Bachelart, he has a European culture and has managed to get established in the US as a successful team owner at the highest level of motorsports.
"He's also had a successful career as a driver," added Nicolet. "It was obvious from our first meetings that we should work together and we have created a partnership that is very promising."
“IndyCar is still our main priority," insisted Bachelart, whose team fielded Sebastian Saavedra for much of the 2011 season, with a one-off appearance from Formula Nippon star Joao Paulo de Oliveira at Motegi. "Right now, I think it's good to diversify. I've always been interested first in open-wheel racing, but I think what the ALMS is doing is good too ... I look at it as I'm a racing team, not just an IndyCar team."
The OAK-Pescarolo has been one of the most successful LMP2 chassis in recent years, with OAK Racing based in Le Mans close to the La Sarthe circuit. Their cars took second place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010 and won the Le Mans Series LMP2 manufacturer title in the process.