- Walker Racing
Walker Racing is a racing team founded by
Derrick Walkerin 1991 racing originally in the CART Championship Carseries. Presently the team competes in the Atlantic Championshipseries.
The team fielded
Scott Goodyearon a full time basis who won at Michigan and nearly won the 1992 Indianapolis 500who was joined beginning with the 1993 Indianapolis 500by Willy T. Ribbswho raced with the team until the end of the 1994 season. The team ran a third full-time car in 1993 for Hiro Matsushita. Goodyear was replaced at the beginning of the 1994 season by Robby Gordonwho raced with the team with Valvolinesponsorship until 1996. Gordon raced alongside teammate Mark Smith in 1994 who had a generally unsuccessful season, failing to qualify for the Indy 500 and finishing 19th in points. Smith was replaced by rookie Christian Fittipaldiin 1995 who finished second in the Indy 500 and finished 15th in points. As a results of the CART-IRL split in 1996, the Walker team elected to participate in both races with Gordon and Fredrik Ekblomdriving in the U.S. 500and Mike Groffand racing in the 1996 Indianapolis 500. In 1997 Gil de Ferrantook over the Valvoline car and he was the runner up in the championship that year despite not scoring a victory. De Ferran stayed with the team until 1999, a year where he finally broke through and scored his first victory for the team, the team's first since Gordon's win at Detroit in 1996.
A series of pay drivers
With no driver or sponsorship for the 2000 season, the team was forced to take on
pay driver Shinji Nakanowho finished a disappointing 24th in points. Meanwhile, the team entered the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Seriesin 2000 with rookie female driver Sarah Fisherwho was inconsistent but fast in her two years with the team, scoring a career-best finish of 2nd place at Homestead-Miami Speedwayin 2001. Nakano was replaced in the team's CART entry in 2001 by countryman Tora Takagiwho brought Pioneer Electronicssponsorship to the team. Takagi managed slightly improved results over Nakano scoring 10 top-10 finishes in his two seasons with the team. The team also attempted to field Oriol Serviain the 2002 Indianapolis 500but he failed to qualify. Takagi left to the IRL in 2003 and the team was left without full-time sponsorship. The sponsorship void was filled by Mexican driver Rodolfo Lavinwho brought Corona sponsorship. Walker ran Darren Manningfull-time in a second car with a variety of different sponsors and he finished 9th in points while Lavin only managed 18th. Both drivers were gone for 2004 as the series morphed into the Champ Car World Series. Brazilian Mario Haberfelddrove the team's only full time car. Late in that season Australian businessman Craig Gorebought into the team and it became Team Australia.
In 2005 the team took an Australian turn due to its new ownership, with the addition of
Aussie Vineyardssponsorship and Austraian rookie driver Marcus Marshalljoining Canadian veteran Alex Taglianias the team returned to two full-time cars. Will Powermade his debut in a third car at the 2005 Lexmark Indy 300in Australia and replaced Marshall for the season finale in Mexico. The pair of Tagliani and Power continued with the team in 2006 and Tagliani was replaced by 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Serieschampion Simon Pagenaudin 2007. Power won two races in 2007 including the season opener in Las Vegas, the team's first victory since Gil De Ferran was with the team.
Walker initially indicated that he believed that the Champ Car World Series had run its last race and he was preparing to race in the IRL IndyCar Series in 2008. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/news/story?seriesId=5&id=3243165 Owner Walker making plans to compete in rival league] , Associated Press, February 12, 2008] However, on on March 9 the team announced that it would not race in the IndyCar Series in 2008 as it was unable to find adequate funding to do so. [ [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/racing/wires/03/09/3010.ap.car.irl.open.wheel.merger.walker.1st.ld.writethru.0225/ Walker Racing won't be making switch from Champ Car to IndyCar Series] , Associated Press, March 9, 2008]
Gil de Ferran(1997-1999)
A. J. Foyt(1992)
Scott Goodyear(1991-1993, 1996)
Mike Groff(1992, 1996)
Willy T. Ribbs(1991-1994)
*flagicon|USA Mark Smith (1994)
Alex Tagliani(2005-2006, 2008)
IRL IndyCar Series
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.