Walker Racing

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Walker Racing was a racing team founded by Derrick Walker in 1991 racing originally in the CART Championship Car series. It last competed in the United SportsCar Championship under the name of Team Falken Tire until Falken Tire pulled out of not only the series but the team in general at the conclusion of the 2015 United SportsCar Championship season.

Early success[edit]

The team was founded by Walker, who purchased the left over assets of the former Porsche Indy team. In the first season, 1991, the team successfully qualified rookie Willy T. Ribbs at the Indy 500.

In 1992, the team fielded Scott Goodyear on a full-time basis who won at Michigan and nearly won the 1992 Indianapolis 500. He was joined beginning with the 1993 Indianapolis 500 by Willy T. Ribbs who 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 Gordon who raced with the team with Valvoline sponsorship until 1996. Gordon raced alongside teammate Mark Smith who was a championship contender in Indy Lights and showed promise in his 1993 CART rookie season but had a difficult 1994 season with the Walker Racing team. Smith was replaced by rookie Christian Fittipaldi in 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 Ekblom driving in the U.S. 500 and Mike Groff racing in the 1996 Indianapolis 500.

In 1997, Gil de Ferran took over the Valvoline car and 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 1995.

A series of pay drivers[edit]

With no driver or sponsorship for the 2000 season, the team was forced to take on pay driver Shinji Nakano who finished a disappointing 24th in points. Meanwhile, the team entered the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series in 2000 with rookie female driver Sarah Fisher who was inconsistent but fast in her two years with the team, scoring a career-best finish of 2nd place at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2001. Nakano was replaced in the team's CART entry in 2001 by countryman Tora Takagi who brought Pioneer Electronics sponsorship 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 Servia in the 2002 Indianapolis 500 but he failed to qualify.

Takagi left to the IRL in 2003 and the void was filled by Mexican driver Rodolfo Lavin who brought Corona sponsorship. Walker ran Darren Manning full-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 Haberfeld drove the team's only full-time car. Late in that season Australian businessman Craig Gore bought into the team and it became Team Australia.

Team Australia[edit]

In 2005 the team took an Australian turn due to its new sponsorship, with the addition of Aussie Vineyards sponsorship and Australian rookie driver Marcus Marshall joining Canadian veteran Alex Tagliani as the team returned to two full-time cars. Will Power made his debut in a third car at the 2005 Lexmark Indy 300 in 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 Series champion Simon Pagenaud in 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.[1] However, 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 as sponsor Aussie Vineyards jumped ship to KV Racing.[2] Walker Racing did finally appear in the 2008 season in a joint effort with Vision Racing at Edmonton to run Paul Tracy.

Walker fielded Stefan Wilson for a partial season campaign in Indy Lights in 2009.

American Le Mans Series[edit]

In 2011, Derrick Walker joined forces with Team Falken Tire to run a Porsche 997 GT3-RSR in the upcoming American Le Mans Series season in the GT class. Falken's motorsports division made their ALMS début in 2009 racing certain events before entering a full 2010 season. The team took its maiden victory at the 2011 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge in which heavy rain towards the end of the race which favoured the team as the rain tires Falken developed were considerably better than those of Michelin and Dunlop. Wolf Henzler, one of the drivers in the race was in seventh when the rain started falling and went up to fifth before the safety car came out. In the restart, Henzler overtook the next four cars in a single lap to take the lead before the red flags came out around ten minutes before the end of the race. It was also the first win for a team running on Falken Tires and also the first wins for drivers Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers.

Ed Carpenter Racing[edit]

In 2012, Derrick Walker returned to the IndyCar Series as team manager for Ed Carpenter Racing, co-owned by Tony George and driver Ed Carpenter. The team is based in the Walker Racing facility and utilizes Walker Racing's equipment and personnel.[3]

Closure[edit]

On 20 November, 2016 the team was put up for auction after a year of searching for a replacement sponsor for its IMSA team. On 6 December, 2016 after the auction is complete the team will be officially listed as defunct.[4]

Drivers[edit]

CART/CCWS[edit]

IRL IndyCar Series[edit]

Racing results[edit]

Complete CART FedEx Championship Series results[edit]

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

Year Chassis Engine Drivers No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
1991 SFR LBH PHX INDY MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR MCH DEN VAN MDO ROA NAZ LAG
Lola T90/00 Cosworth DFS V8t Canada Scott Goodyear 15 23 7 21 27 9 8 10 19 8 7 15 24 8 11 9 21 11
United States Willy T. Ribbs 10 11 22 10 6 21 10 17 12
Buick 3300 V6t 17 32
1992 SFR PHX LBH INDY DET POR MIL NHA TOR MCH CLE ROA VAN MDO NAZ LAG
Lola T91/00
Lola T92/00
Chevrolet 265A V8t Canada Scott Goodyear 15 9 18 5 2 22 8 8 3 6 1* 10 20 5 16 4 26
Lola T90/00 Cosworth DFS V8t United States A. J. Foyt 17 23
Finland Tero Palmroth DNQ
Lola T91/00 Chevrolet 265A V8t United States Johnny Rutherford DNQ
United States Mike Groff DNQ DNS 24
Switzerland Jon Beekhuis 18 21
United States Dennis Vitolo DNS
United States Willy T. Ribbs 25
1993 SFR PHX LBH INDY MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH NHA ROA VAN MDO NAZ LAG
Lola T93/00 Ford XB V8t Canada Scott Goodyear 2 10 20 16 7 23 10 12 20 9 5 19 10 4 3 2 4
Japan Hiro Matsushita 15 11 10 14 18 13 13 21 12 16 14 13 13 12 13 21 19
Lola T92/00 United States Willy T. Ribbs 75 21 11 12 16 27 18 10 15 12 16 11 19 28
1994 SFR PHX LBH INDY MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO NHA VAN ROA NAZ LAG
Lola T94/00 Ford XB V8t United States Robby Gordon 9 23 7 3 5 6 3 4 11 6 13 4 13 2 25 23 13
United States Mark Smith 15 21 Wth 25 DNQ 24 14 16 22 30 5 20 12 8 26 12 14
Lola T93/00 United States Willy T. Ribbs 24 18 28 18 DNQ
Lola T94/00 DNQ 25 16 25 12 21 7 28 10 25 24 18 11
1995 MIA SFR PHX LBH NAZ INDY MIL DET POR ROA TOR CLE MCH MDO NHA VAN LAG
Reynard 95i Ford XB V8t United States Robby Gordon 5 13 14 1 22 4 5 5 1* 8 26 5 6 DNS 8 9 3 15
Brazil Christian Fittipaldi 15 5 25 10 14 20 2 7 17 12 8 9 24 9 25 8 24 24
1996 MIA RIO SFR LBH NAZ 500 MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO ROA VAN LAG
Reynard 96i Ford XD V8t United States Robby Gordon 5 3 15 16 13 22 20 17 26 10 18 9 8 18 17 10 15
Ford XB V8t Canada Scott Goodyear 15 12 DNS 19 9 18
United States Mike Groff 14
Sweden Fredrik Ekblom 25
1997 MIA SFR LBH NAZ RIO GAT MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO ROA VAN LAG FON
Reynard 97i Honda HRR V8t Brazil Gil de Ferran 5 22 5 21 4 11 3 7 3* 2 2* 25 3 6 3 3 5 6
1998 MIA MOT LBH NAZ RIO GAT MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO ROA VAN LAG HOU SFR FON
Reynard 98i Honda HRK V8t Brazil Gil de Ferran 5 7 3 20* 4 26 6 22 3 20 6 27 16 9 16 13 19 21 14 17
1999 MIA MOT LBH NAZ RIO GAT MIL POR CLE ROA TOR MCH DET MDO CHI VAN LAG HOU SRF FON
Reynard 99i Honda HRS V8t Brazil Gil de Ferran 5 6 2 6 15 10 25 3 1* 2 14 19 24 22 6 13 26 6 17 27 9
Japan Naoki Hattori 15 25 16 19 27 14 22 20 19
United States Memo Gidley 19 11 26 12
2000 MIA LBH RIO MOT NAZ MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH CHI MDO ROA VAN LAG GAT HOU SRF FON
Reynard 2Ki Honda HR-0 V8t Japan Shinji Nakano 5 8 14 23 15 11 15 14 20 13 19 22 19 26 21 8 21 16
United States Bryan Herta 5 20
2001 MTY LBH TEX NAZ MOT MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH CHI MDO ROA VAN LAU ROC HOU LAG SRF FON
Reynard 01i Toyota RV8F V8t Japan Toranosuke Takagi 5 10 20 C1 14 20 20 20 18 14 22 13 11 21 22 7 6 26 4 13 16 15
2002 MTY LBH MOT MIL LAG POR CHI TOR CLE VAN MDO ROA MTL DEN ROC MIA SFR FON MXC
Reynard 02i Toyota RV8F V8t Japan Toranosuke Takagi 5 14 6 8 14 16 18 4 8 7 15 12 15 14 15 6 15 DNS 18 6
2003 STP MTY LBH BRH LAU MIL LAG POR CLE TOR VAN ROA MDO MTL DEN MIA MXC SFR
Reynard 02i Ford XFE V8t Mexico Rodolfo Lavín 5 18 15 18 15 9 14 19 11 14 15 8 19 12 15 19 18 18 8
United Kingdom Darren Manning 15 13 7 8 10 6 4 18 6 10 8 5 6 8 10 8 11 9 2
Mexico Luis Díaz 25 19
2004 LBH MTY MIL POR CLE TOR VAN ROA DEN MTL LAG LSV SFR MXC
Reynard 02i Ford XFE V8t Brazil Mario Haberfeld 5 9 15 10 9 14 4 9 11 8 13 7 14 14 15
Australia David Besnard 15 7
Canada Michael Valiante 14
1 The Firestone Firehawk 600 was canceled after qualifying due to excessive g-forces on the drivers.

Complete IRL IndyCar Series results[edit]

(key)

Year Chassis Engine Drivers No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
1996 WDW PHX INDY
Reynard 95i Ford XB V8t United States Mike Groff 60 20
2000 WDW PHX LSV INDY TXS PPIR ATL KTY TXS
Riley & Scott Mk V
Dallara IR-00
Oldsmobile Aurora V8 United States Sarah Fisher 15 13 17 31 12 25 14 3 11
2001 PHX HMS ATL INDY TXS PPIR RIR KAN NSH KTY GAT CHI TXS
Dallara IR-01 Oldsmobile Aurora V8 United States Sarah Fisher 15 17 2 11 31 18 10 17 12 19 19 11 24 25
2008 HMS STP MOT LBH1 KAN INDY MIL TXS IOW RIR WGL NSH MDO EDM KTY SNM DET CHI SRF2
Panoz DP01 Cosworth XFE V8t Canada Alex Tagliani 15 7
Dallara IR-05 Honda HI7R V8 Canada Paul Tracy 22 43
  1. ^ Run to Champ Car specifications.
  2. ^ Non-points-paying, exhibition race.
  3. ^ Run in conjunction with Vision Racing.

References[edit]