Conquest warming Baguette for Indy.

Posted by Declan | 3/22/2010 | 8 comments »
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Following on from our weak pun based breaking news of a couple of weeks ago, it has been confirmed, by Conquest Racing, that the 2009 World Series by Renault Champion, the magnificenly monikered, Betrand Baguette will make his debut at Barber Motorsports Park.

March 22, 2010 (Indianapolis, IN)- Conquest Racing announced today that it will enter a second car in the IZOD IndyCar Series for Belgian driver Bertrand Baguette, beginning with the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 11th through the remainder of the season. The car will carry the colors of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium's National Team. The RACB is the Belgian motorsports governing body.

"I have always been attracted to racing in America," commented Baguette. "American open wheel has a rich heritage in competitive races and legendary drivers, and I couldn't be happier about following in their footsteps. Racing in the US is a fantastic opportunity for me, and I am excited about entering into this next step of my career."

Baguette, 24, received considerable attention in Europe after he captured the 2009 World Series by Renault championship. As a result of his success in 2009, Baguette was invited to test for Formula 1 teams Renault F1 and BMW Sauber earlier this year in Jerez, Spain.

"I am looking forward to the 15 races this year with the IndyCar series and I am thankful to the sponsors and for the support of the RACB National Team that have made this possible," said Baguette of the newly formed deal. "I will carry the yellow color of the Belgian National Team with dignity and pride, especially during the legendary Indianapolis 500. To run this race in front of 400,000 spectators will undoubtedly be a big moment of emotion for me as a driver and Belgian countryman. I will be counting on the experience of my new team owner, Eric Bachelart, to help me enter successfully into this new world of racing."

Bachelart is excited about the prospect of a Belgian driver in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Bachelart has watched the career of Baguette closely over the last several years and is optimistic about Baguette's ability to be successful this season.

"I am completely confident in the capacities of Bertrand to quickly adapt to the IZOD IndyCar Series car and the North America road and street circuits. I followed his 2009 season and was impressed by the excellent degree of competitiveness and maturity he showcased on his way to becoming Formula Renault 3.5 Champion," asserted Bachelart. "Because of his ability to adapt well to new formula, I am confident that he will also learn the art of oval track racing relatively quickly."

While he will not be racing until the Barber Motorsports event, Baguette will be attending the St. Petersburg Grand Prix this weekend to familiarize himself with the IZOD IndyCar Series, the cars and the team.

"I am really looking forward to becoming more familiar with him during the upcoming race in St. Petersburg," said Bachelart. "It will be good for Bertrand to be able to attend an event, understand the communication between driver and team and get acclimated to IZOD IndyCar Series racing without the pressure of also having to learn the cars on the same weekend. This should make Bertrand's debut event at Barber much smoother for him and for the team."
This is hugely encouraging for the IndyCar Series as a whole. Randy Bernard quite correctly stated that the IICS needs to have the best open wheel racers in the world competing in the championship. Baguette represents the next generation of such drivers and his move to IndyCar serves to significantly increase the talent pool of young racers in the series.

And his name is simply a gift that keeps on giving, so it's a 'win/win' for all of us!

8 comments

  1. Dean // March 22, 2010 8:41 AM  

    This story reminds me of a Champ Car team announcement 2004-2007. WTF in the American media gives two steaming piles about a Belgian junior driver signing on in the Indycar "big show"?

    More importantly, why should American OW fans give a d*mn?? JR Hildebrand is the Indy Lights CHAMP & he was running in ALMS this weekend. So many N/A OW grads are now driving sports cars & even NASCAR while funded Belgians, Brazilians, & Venezuelans fill the field up in "top shelf" Indycar?

    I know economic realities... but foreign ride buyers in the 90's were F1 WDC's or at least very talented guys that reached F1 & were saddled with weak teams. Ex drivers (or even champions) from F2, F3 or any other far away junior championship means ZERO to 98% of the IICS fan base & yea... the MEDIA who will cover (& promote) the sport.

  2. Matt Chamois // March 22, 2010 8:58 AM  

    I care. It seems My Name Is IRL cares as well, otherwise they wouldn't had written about it.

  3. Declan // March 22, 2010 9:24 AM  

    @Dean

    You do realize that American Open Wheel has a pretty good recent history of taking Champions directly from European feeder series?

    Juan Pablo Montoya (from F3000 to CART), Bruno Junquiera (from F3000 to CART) and Sebastian Bourdais (from F3000 to CCWS) to name but three.

    Yes the series needs American drivers but it also needs the best emerging young talent from wherever it comes from. And Baguette fits that bill.

  4. Ryan // March 22, 2010 9:29 AM  

    "Yes the series needs American drivers but it also needs the best emerging young talent from wherever it comes from. And Baguette fits that bill."

    Indeed! He will be an excellent addition to this year's IndyCar field.

  5. Dean // March 22, 2010 11:29 AM  

    @Dex: Yes, I'm aware of JPM & Bourdais. However, Montoya raced Barber Saab & was a William test driver (along with F3000 champion) when he came to Target Ganassi. Bourdais was also a hot name in F1 circles (along with F3000 champ).

    Hopefully "Bread-Boy" has Alex Zanardi's or Mad Max Papis' BOLD personality (& driving talent). This series needs some home grown talent to get a foot hold.

    BTW, this is coming from someone who was a rabid Emerson Fittipaldi fan when I had the choice of Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan & Al Unser Jr (as USA drivers)

  6. tripleleagueracing // March 22, 2010 6:15 PM  

    Baggette, or whatever is a good driver, but, so are John Sumerton, John Edwards, and J.R. Hildebrand, and they ALL don't have a ride. In fact, the only driver from Atlantic's and Lights last year with a full time ride is Simona, who I like, but still, all THREE American's couldn't land a ride, that's a little ridiculous. NASCAR's development ladder is also plagued with issue's, but at least both Lagano and Keselowski both made it to good cup rides.

  7. Iannucci // March 22, 2010 10:00 PM  

    I want to see the young Americans get in the IRL as well, but come on...His name is "Baguette" - that ALONE makes him more interesting than most drivers. I've already got my "toasted baguette" references at the ready for any DNFs he might incur.

  8. Dean // March 23, 2010 12:32 PM  

    Panara Bread called looking for Conquest's contact info!!! :) :) :)