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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.

Contents

Early successEdit

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 driversEdit

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 AustraliaEdit

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 SeriesEdit

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 RacingEdit

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]

ClosureEdit

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]

DriversEdit

CART/CCWSEdit

IRL IndyCar SeriesEdit

Racing resultsEdit

Complete CART FedEx Championship Series resultsEdit

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

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Pts Pos Pos
1991 SFR LBH PHX INDY MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR MCH DEN VAN MDO ROA NAZ LAG
Lola T90/00 Cosworth DFS V8t G   Scott Goodyear 15 23 7 21 27 9 8 10 19 8 7 15 24 8 11 9 21 11 13th 42
  Willy T. Ribbs 10 11 22 10 6 21 10 17 12 17th 17
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 G   Scott Goodyear 15 9 18 5 2 22 8 8 3 6 1* 10 20 5 16 4 26 5th 108
Lola T90/00 Cosworth DFS V8t   A. J. Foyt 17 23 26th 4
  Tero Palmroth DNQ 58th 0
Lola T91/00 Chevrolet 265A V8t   Johnny Rutherford DNQ NC
  Mike Groff DNQ DNS 24 25th 5
  Jon Beekhuis 18 21 48th 0
  Dennis Vitolo DNS 42nd 0
  Willy T. Ribbs 25 57th 0
1993 SFR PHX LBH INDY MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH NHA ROA VAN MDO NAZ LAG
Lola T93/00 Ford XB V8t G   Scott Goodyear 2 10 20 16 7 23 10 12 20 9 5 19 10 4 3 2 4 9th 86
  Hiro Matsushita 15 11 10 14 18 13 13 21 12 16 14 13 13 12 13 21 19 26th 7
Lola T92/00   Willy T. Ribbs 75 21 11 12 16 27 18 10 15 12 16 11 19 28 20th 9
1994 SFR PHX LBH INDY MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO NHA VAN ROA NAZ LAG
Lola T94/00 Ford XB V8t G   Robby Gordon 9 23 7 3 5 6 3 4 11 6 13 4 13 2 25 23 13 5th 104
  Mark Smith 15 21 Wth 25 DNQ 24 14 16 22 30 5 20 12 8 26 12 14 19th 17
Lola T93/00   Willy T. Ribbs 24 18 28 18 DNQ 22nd 12
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 G   Robby Gordon 5 13 14 1 22 4 5 5 1* 8 26 5 6 DNS 8 9 3 15 5th 121
  Christian Fittipaldi (R) 15 5 25 10 14 20 2 7 17 12 8 9 24 9 25 8 24 24 15th 54
1996 MIA RIO SFR LBH NAZ 500 MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO ROA VAN LAG
Reynard 96i Ford XD V8t G   Robby Gordon 5 3 15 16 13 22 20 17 26 10 18 9 8 18 17 10 15 18th 29
Ford XB V8t   Scott Goodyear 15 12 DNS 19 9 18 25th 5
  Mike Groff 14 34th 0
  Fredrik Ekblom 25 40th 0
1997 MIA SFR LBH NAZ RIO GAT MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO ROA VAN LAG FON
Reynard 97i Honda HRR V8t G   Gil de Ferran 5 22 5 21 4 11 3 7 3* 2 2* 25 3 6 3 3 5 6 2nd 162
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 G   Gil de Ferran 5 7 3 20* 4 26 6 22 3 20 6 27 16 9 16 13 19 21 14 17 12th 67
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 G   Gil de Ferran 5 6 2 6 15 10 25 3 1* 2 14 19 24 22 6 13 26 6 17 27 9 8th 108
  Naoki Hattori (R) 15 25 16 19 27 14 22 20 19 35th 0
  Memo Gidley 19 11 26 12 29th 4
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 F   Shinji Nakano (R) 5 8 14 23 15 11 15 14 20 13 19 22 19 26 21 8 21 16 24th 12
  Bryan Herta 5 20 18th 26
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 F   Toranosuke Takagi (R) 5 10 20 C1 14 20 20 20 18 14 22 13 11 21 22 7 6 26 4 13 16 15 21st 12
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 B   Toranosuke Takagi 5 14 6 8 14 16 18 4 8 7 15 12 15 14 15 6 15 DNS 18 6 15th 53
2003 STP MTY LBH BRH LAU MIL LAG POR CLE TOR VAN ROA MDO MTL DEN MIA MXC SFR
Reynard 02i Ford XFE V8t B   Rodolfo Lavín (R) 5 18 15 18 15 9 14 19 11 14 15 8 19 12 15 19 18 18 8 18th 17
  Darren Manning (R) 15 13 7 8 10 6 4 18 6 10 8 5 6 8 10 8 11 9 2 9th 103
  Luis Díaz (R) 25 19 27th 0
2004 LBH MTY MIL POR CLE TOR VAN ROA DEN MTL LAG LSV SFR MXC
Reynard 02i Ford XFE V8t B   Mario Haberfeld 5 9 15 10 9 14 4 9 11 8 13 7 14 14 15 13th 157
  David Besnard (R) 15 7 20th 18
  Michael Valiante (R) 14 23rd 7
  1. ^ The Firestone Firehawk 600 was canceled after qualifying due to excessive g-forces on the drivers.

Complete IRL IndyCar Series resultsEdit

(key)

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Pts Pos Pos
1996 WDW PHX INDY
Reynard 95i Ford XB V8t G   Mike Groff 60 20 6th 228
1997 NHA LSV WDW PHX INDY TXS PPIR CLT NHA2 LSV2
Reynard 95i Ford XB V8t G   Robby Gordon 50 14 37th 27
2000 WDW PHX LSV INDY TXS PPIR ATL KTY TXS
Riley & Scott Mk V Oldsmobile Aurora V8 F   Sarah Fisher (R) 15 13 17 18th 124
Dallara IR-00 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 F   Sarah Fisher 15 17 2 11 31 18 10 17 12 19 19 11 24 25 19th 188
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 B   Alex Tagliani 15 7 32nd 56
Dallara IR-05 Honda HI7R V8 F   Paul Tracy 22 43 33rd 51
  1. ^ Run to Champ Car specifications.
  2. ^ Non-points-paying, exhibition race.
  3. ^ Run in conjunction with Vision Racing.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Owner Walker making plans to compete in rival league, Associated Press, February 12, 2008
  2. ^ Walker Racing won't be making switch from Champ Car to IndyCar Series, Associated Press, March 9, 2008
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2011-11-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ http://www.keyauctioneers.com/derrickwalkerracingauction-2/