Derrick Walker, well-known team owner and President of Competitions & Operations at the Verizon IndyCar Series, has announced his resignation from the series.
Effective from the end of this season – August 31, 2015 – Walker served in the role for just over two years and has seen a number of changes and additions to the USA’s premier open-wheel series in that time.
First joining Hulman & Company (who own IndyCar as well as the Indy Motor Speedway) in May 2013, the Scotsman was vital in changes to the operation of race control as well as the introduction of manufacturer specific bodywork, to an admittedly mixed reception, at the start of this season.
He has also overseen the introduction of the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis at the start of the Month of May, as well as a new 2016 introduction – the Boston Grand Prix.
Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, said of the Team Falken Tire boss’s resignation: “We have benefited from Derrick’s extensive racing experience, his tireless effort and his passion for IndyCar, and he will be missed. We appreciate the thoughtful way Derrick has planned his transition and wish him well in his future endeavours.”
Walker himself said: “I have appreciated the opportunity to work closely with the team owners, drivers and the team at IndyCar. After two and a half racing seasons, I believe the timing is right to move on to other opportunities.”
The series has not announced Walker’s replacement yet, but the search is beginning.
Derrick Walker will certainly be missed in the IndyCar paddock, the owner of Walker Racing had years of experience around the series. Working for Penske in the 70s and 80s before taking over as the Team Manager of the ill-fated Porsche IndyCar effort where he then bought out the team when it went under, he had what many fans thought to be a good knowledge of how to bring the championship back to the ‘glory days’.
Test the water with fans stateside and the man they wanted to resign is Mark Miles. Ever a divisive figure, Miles has been accused of dragging the series down from the great heights it once enjoyed and should leave the Brickyard before IndyCar hits rock bottom.
Who do the fans want to see take over from Walker? Dario Franchitti for one, the Scotsman is still a much liked face both in the States and within the series and is seen as the man with his finger on the pulse. Failing that, any former driver will seemingly fit the bill.
For Walker, he has other pressing matters in the world of racing as his TUDOR United SportsCar Championship team – currently sponsored by Falken Tires – is facing uncertain future after the tyre manufacturer announced they were pulling out at the end of this season. They are a very successful team in American endurance racing – especially in the longer events – and they should be safe for next season, but obviously Walker will want to be manning the ship through less than calm waters through the off-season to make sure they appear in 2016.