Camara To Replace Perera
April 25, 2008 | 11:26 A.M. EST
Conquest Racing announced that Camara will drive the No. 34 Dallara/Honda/Firestone for the remainder of the season, beginning with the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway this weekend. It also announced an extension to the sponsorship program with Sangari.
Conquest Racing owner Eric Bachelart said the loss of sponsors Opes Prime, which recently went into receivership, and ARES necessitated the change. Franck Perera competed in three races, with a high of sixth place on the streets of Long Beach (Calif.) last weekend.
"As much as we are happy to have Jaime join the team, we are saddened that it is at Franck's expense," Bachelart said. "He has done exceptionally well in his IndyCar Series debut as well as in his one and only Champ Car race and we are keeping him as our reserve driver for the remainder of the year, but he will be released should a racing seat be available for him with another team."
Camara, a native of Goiania, Brazil, finished fifth in his Firestone Indy Lights rookie season in 2005 for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. He recorded two victories, including the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and three pole starts. In 2006, Camara posted his third victory and set a series record by qualifying in the top 10 in 18 consecutive races while finishing sixth in the championship race.
Last year, Camara record seven top-five finishes again finishing sixth in the standings. Overall, he set a series record with 42 consecutive starts.
"It's a great opportunity for me to be driving for Conquest Racing," said Camara, who has had IndyCar Series testing seat time in the No. 11 Andretti Green Racing car. "This has always been a goal for me, to get to the IndyCar Series. It's been hard work since 2005 when I came to the United States to race. I want to thank Eric Bachelart for giving me this opportunity as well as Sangari and Geraldo Rodrigues, my manager, that worked for this to happen.
"It's just a dream come true. My goal was always to go to IndyCar, I never looked at going to Europe to try different series. It was always here. It's a good feeling that I have now, I am happy that it happened with the merger going on because now all the teams are here and the series is gaining momentum and that's going to be great."
Camara is the eighth Firestone Indy Lights graduate to compete in the IndyCar Series this season and is eligible for Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year honors.
"Jaime will be a great addition to our team," Bachelart said. "With his oval experience and Enrique Bernoldi's road and street course experience, it will be a good combination. Jaime has proved himself in Indy Lights and I think he will fare well in the IndyCar Series."