Walker predicts the end of Champ Car
|By Steven English||Wednesday, February 13th 2008, 11:14 GMT|
Team owner Derrick Walker predicts that Champ Car is close to the end, amid rumours that series bosses are planning to file for bankruptcy.
Negotiations are ongoing between senior Champ Car and Indy Racing League officials to reach an agreement on a merger between the two, but Walker isn't convinced Champ Car can survive if the amalgamation doesn't go ahead.
He told the Associated Press: "It has all the makings of the end of Champ Car. I don't know how it's going to be done, but I think Champ Car is going to shut down."
But Champ Car executive vice president David Higdon denied that the series is shutting down: "We've been hearing these rumours since Friday and, as we've continued to say, our doors are open and people are working.
"We are proceeding with our plans and will keep operating as Champ Car."
Walker claimed several teams have not received last year's prize money, and decided not to field his cars in the first pre-season test at Sebring last week, instead choosing to start work on switching his team to IRL for this season.
"About a month ago there were several teams that had never been paid prize money, I don't know whether that was resolved," he said.
"My truck was on its way to Sebring and I turned it round because nobody in Champ Car could tell me what was going on. We've put our energy into IRL and will work toward that until someone can show me that Champ Car is really going to happen.
"I'm praying for a merger but you have to be careful what you wish for. It costs about $1.3 million to show up for the IRL races so that's the money we've got to find."
There have been no developments on the proposed merger since IRL boss Tony George returned from talks with Honda in Japan yesterday. He was hoping to move to date of the Motegi round on April 19 to allow the Champ Car race at Long Beach on April 20 to be added to the IRL schedule.
IRL spokesman John Griffin last night said: "Our executive team got back from Japan earlier today and we continue to work and see what we can accomplish here in the immediate future."