Conquest Racing announced today that Brazilian Joao Paulo (JP) de Oliveira will drive its No. 34 Dallara-Honda in this weekend's Indy Japan 300 on the Twin Ring Motegi road course. He replaces the team's regular driver, Sebastian Saavedra, for the Sept. 17 event.
Despite being a native of Sao Paulo, the 30-year-old driver has concentrated on Japanese domestic race series in recent years after first rising to prominence in European-based open-wheel racing. Oliveira is the the defending champion in the Formula Nippon series (ABOVE), and he is also a repeat winner at the Twin Ring Motegi road course. A few weeks ago, he dominated the Formula Nippon race there, starting from pole, setting the fastest lap and taking the victory for the second year in a row.
After winning the German F3 series title in 2003, de Oliviera moved to Japan and won another F3 title there in 2005. In '06, he served as a test driver for the Williams F1 testing program as a development driver. He also became a regular winner in the Japanese Super GT Championship as well as Formula Nippon, Japan's top-level open-wheel series.
"Joining Conquest Racing is an exciting opportunity at this stage in my career," said de Oliviera. "I have been following the IZOD Indycar Series over the years and it's a thrill to be making my debut in Japan.
"Twin Ring Motegi is a very smooth, technical and demanding track. It has lots of hard braking zones followed by long straights, so obviously you need a good car under braking and traction. These are key factors if you want to go fast around there. I have great memories from Motegi winning two out of the last three Formula Nippon races, so I'm looking forward to going back there."
Conquest owner Eric Bachelart said, “I am very excited to have the opportunity of working with JP this weekend in Japan. Motegi will be the last road course race with the current car and we are looking forward to having a very good weekend there. JP knows the track really well but by the same time he will have to get used to the car and the series in a very short period of time."