Who's Franck Perera?

Indycar

Franck PereraIn Champ Car testing at Sebring last weekend, 23-year old Frenchman Franck Perera showed he will be a man to watch this year. Driving one of Eric Bachelart’s Conquest Racing cars, Champ Car rookie Perera set the pace and yesterday Bachelart announced that Perera will lead his team this year.

Can a rookie in a small team win races and challenge the likes of Newman/Haas/Lanigan for this year’s Champ Car title? Bachelart says the strength of Champ Car’s Panoz-Cosworth rules package means a small team with good engineers and a fast, young driver can compete against teams like Newman/Haas/Lanigan. With Perera in one of his cars and another competitive young driver in Conquest’s second car, Bachelart hopes to be a serious contender this year.

And Perera? He was a member of Toyota’s young driver program in Europe from 2001-2004 and tested a Toyota F1 car in ‘04. He won the Formula Renault Italian championship in ‘03 and raced in GP2 in ‘06, finishing second in the Monaco GP2 round. Perera came to the USA last year to race in the revived Mazda/Atlantic championship with Carlos Bobeda’s Condor team. He wound up finishing a strong second to Raphael Matos in the Atlantic series, scoring his first win at mid-season on the challenging Mt Tremblant road course. He won again in Toronto the next weekend and also won the year’s final Atlantic race at Elkhart Lake.

At Sebring last week Perera proved he can pedal a Champ Car as quickly as anyone and it will be interesting to see what he can do when the beleaguered Champ Car series kicks-off at Long Beach in April.

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