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New teams gear up for Sebring test

Eric Bachelart and Conquest engineersFormer Champ Car teams are gearing up for their first IRL IndyCar Series test at the Sebring circuit starting on Wednesday.

Conquest Racing, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, KV Racing Technology, Dale Coyne Racing and HVM Racing are expected to make the switch to the unified series.

All teams have been working around the clock since the official unification of the series in order to be ready for the season opener at Homestead on March 29.

The teams received their new Dallara cars in the first week of March, and have been helped by existing IndyCar teams with technical instruction.

"The first thing was the tubs, painting the tubs, adjusting the bodywork," said Eric Bachelart, Conquest Racing's co-owner.

"While we were doing that, we only got the engines March 11, we started to prepare the different components of the car, crack test everything, build everything. Now that we have the engine, we can start to do all the trimming of the car.

"Over the years, you find yourself in some amazing situations," Bachelart added. "There is always a solution. It's OK. We have a good team manager, and he's well on top of everything. I'm concerned but not overly worried. At least we're going to be there."

The teams will be testing at Sebring for two days, in what will be their first chance of running before the season begins in Miami.

"I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now," said Conquest Racing's team manager Chris Mower. "It's only basically come together (in the past couple of days) with a lot of items.

"It's been a monumental task not only for us, but for us, the IRL, for the other teams that have been assigned to help teams. To do it in two to three weeks has been incredible."

There will be a second test on March 24-25 at Homestead, before the season kicks off three days later.

"I want to congratulate Mark Johnson (KV Racing Technology general manager), David Brzozowski (team manager), the engineering staff and the entire crew on the job they have done getting these cars ready to test," said Jimmy Vasser, KV Racing Technology co-owner.

"We haven't had a lot of time to prepare, but the entire team has worked flat out, around the clock, seven day a week, just to get prepared for this first test at Sebring.

"This is a huge undertaking, and while we are still behind some of the established teams everything that can be done to this point has been done and I just want to say how proud I am of the entire team.

"I also want to acknowledge and thank Target Chip Ganassi Racing. They have really been great as far as helping us get ready and have made it apparent that getting our team up to speed as fast as possible is what is best for the series."

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