David Walker (racing driver)

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Dave Walker
David Walker 1971 Lotus 56 B Pratt Whitney.jpg
Walker at the wheel of the Lotus 56B Formula One car during the 1971 Dutch Grand Prix
Born (1941-06-10) 10 June 1941 (age 77)
Sydney, Australia
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityAustralia Australian
Active years19711972
TeamsTeam Lotus
Entries11
Championships0
Wins0
Podiums0
Career points0
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First entry1971 Dutch Grand Prix
Last entry1972 United States Grand Prix

David Walker (born 10 June 1941 in Sydney) is an Australian former racing driver who drove for Lotus in the 1971 and 1972 Formula One World Championships.

Career[edit]

Walker had some international racing experience early in his career in the Australian rounds of the Tasman series in 1964-65 on challenging tracks like Longford and Sandown at a time when most Australian National 2.5 drives were near world class and he also drove a Lotus 70 in the 1971 Australian rounds. During the 1960s Walker's racing career faltered (he was the 1969 British Formula Ford Champion and finished third in the 1969 European Formula Ford Championship), however finally broke through racing a Lotus in Formula Three during 1971. He won 25 out of 32 races that year, including the Formula Three support races at the Monaco Grand Prix and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. By the end of the year he had won both the Shell and Forward Trust UK Formula Three titles. Coming to the attention of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, Walker was handed his Formula One debut at the 1971 Dutch Grand Prix to drive the Lotus 56B, powered by a Pratt & Whitney turbine engine. During the rain-affected race, Walker used the turbine car's advantages of four wheel drive and superior torque to rise from his starting position of 22nd to 10th place within five laps, but eventually spun off into retirement.

Walker was given a full-time Formula One seat to drive the Lotus 72 in the 1972 season, as number two driver to Emerson Fittipaldi. As the season went on, however, both Walker and the team became increasingly disenchanted. After Lotus discovered Walker had tested a Formula Two car for another team, he was dropped from the team for the Italian GP and the Canadian GP, where he was replaced by Reine Wisell. Walker was back for the US GP, but retired.

In all, Fittipaldi won five races and scored 61 points, winning the championship, while Walker never finished a Grand Prix higher than ninth place (in Spain), his best race where he had been contesting 5th place with Peter Revson, when he ran out of fuel, in the last laps. He was promising in the opening glaps at Monaco where he had F3 experience, but made mistakes in the extraordinary downpour. By mid season Team was totally focused on Fittipaldi taking the Championship, and Walker's 72 of little importance, but predictably his form at Brands and in Austria suggested some improvement, while the engine lasted. Lotus blamed Walker's allegedly inadequate driving technique, poor fitness and lack of mechanical sensitivity; while Walker claimed Lotus gave him inferior equipment and gave far more attention to Fittipaldi's needs than his. He was not retained for the 1973 season, and was replaced by Ronnie Peterson. David Walker remains the only driver not to score a single Formula One Championship point in the same season his teammate won the drivers' title.

For 1973, Walker drifted into Formula Two but was unfortunate to be badly injured in two road accidents that year. He retired from motor racing at the end of 1975, saying the effect of crash injuries made him not the same driver, and he was trying too hard, after a few impressive outings in the UK Shellsport F5000 series, taking a front row grid position at Oulton park and now lives in Queensland running a boat charter business.

A little known fact is that Walker drove a Vauxhall Ventora in the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon. This was Walker's first and only real rally experience. He was working for the Jim Russell International Racing Driver School at Snetterton in the UK and the opportunity presented itself. He was accompanied in Car#40 by Doug Morris and Brian Jones in the car. The team were essentially a "private" team, although the car build was assisted by Vauxhall UK and Bill Blydenstien who built many of Gerry Marshall's racing cars.

In the Marathon, the Team was keeping up with the leaders until they reached the Erzincan Stage in Iran where Morris was severely injured while working under the car. Upon leaving hospital one and a half days later, the team agreed to try to make it to Bombay with Morris heavily bandaged and braced. Morris could take no further driving part in the event. Walker drove non-stop from Tehran to Bombay except for a two hour break for sleep. When they arrived they were in 69th place out of 70 cars allowed on board the SS Chusan to Australia (72 cars actually made the journey). The event restarted in Perth to drive to Sydney non-stop, taking 69 hours to cross the country from west to east. Walker drove all but approximately 3 hours of the drive, with the team coming home in a remarkable 52nd place (up 17 places) and only dropped 520 points (minutes) on the nearly 4000 km of crossing one of the most rugged rally routes devised, carrying a still severely injured Morris.

Racing results[edit]

Career summary[edit]

Season Series Position Car Team
1963 Australian Formula Junior Championship 4th Brabham BT2 - Ford Scuderia Veloce
1964 Australian Formula 2 Championship 2nd Brabham BT2 - Ford
1969 BRSCC Formula Ford 1600 1st Lotus 61 - Ford Holbay
European Formula Ford Championship 3rd Lotus 61 - Ford Holbay
1970 BRSCC Lombank Formula 3 Britain 1st Lotus 59A - Ford Gold Leaf Team Lotus
BRSCC Motor Sport / Shell Formula 3 Britain 2nd Lotus 59 - Ford
1971 Shell Super Oil British F3 Championship 1st Lotus 69 - Ford Gold Leaf Team Lotus
Forward Trust BARC F3

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 WDC Points
1971 Gold Leaf Team Lotus Lotus 56B Pratt & Whitney Turbine RSA ESP MON NED
Ret
FRA GBR GER AUT ITA CAN USA NC 0
1972 John Player
Team Lotus
Lotus 72D Cosworth V8 ARG
DSQ
RSA
10
ESP
9
MON
14
BEL
14
FRA
18
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
ITA CAN USA
Ret
NC 0
Source:[1]

Non-Championship Formula One results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1971 Gold Leaf Team Lotus Lotus 56B/72* Ford Cosworth V8 ARG ROC QST SPT INT JRG
9
IGC WCV
1972 Gold Leaf Team Lotus Lotus 72 Ford Cosworth V8 ROC
9
BRA
5
INT
DNS
IGC
Ret
IREP WCV

* Walker was entered in the1971 Jochen Rindt Gedächtnisrennen in a Lotus 56B, but the car suffered an engine fire during practice, so Walker took over Tony Trimmer's Lotus 72 for the race.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 391. ISBN 0851127029.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Emerson Fittipaldi
(Combined championship)
British Formula 3 Championship
BRSCC Lombank Series Champion

1970
Succeeded by
Roger Williamson
Preceded by
Tony Trimmer
Monaco Formula Three
Race Winner

1971
Succeeded by
Patrick Depailler
Preceded by
Carlos Pace
British Formula 3 Championship
BARC Series Champion

1971
Succeeded by
Roger Williamson
Preceded by
Tony Trimmer
British Formula 3 Championship
BRSCC Motorsport/Shell Series Champion

1971
Succeeded by
Roger Williamson