Walker pulls plug on IRL switch

Former Champ Car team Walker Racing have abandoned their plan to join the Indy Racing League this season after failing to raise the necessary sponsorship

Walker pulls plug on IRL switch

The team originally planned to run Will Power and Simon Pagenaud under the Team Australia banner in Champ Car this year, and boss Derrick Walker was one of the most vocal supporters of the merger with the IRL.

But he couldn't raise the required funds to get the IndyCar programme off the ground and officially withdrew at the weekend, leaving both drivers currently without a seat this season.

"I've been keeping going for the last four months because I thought we would work things out," he to American website SpeedTV, "but I finally ran out of time and money, and had to pull the plug.

"I dropped the bomb on my team on Friday and it was the toughest thing I've ever had to do. Everybody was shocked because I'd been optimistic that we were going to get the sponsorship."

The team would have received free IRL chassis and engines, and $1.2 million per car, from IRL boss Tony George if they could have contested the full season, but Walker predicted it would take another $3.5 to 4 million per car.

Walker still plans to field cars in Champ Car Atlantic this season, although the future of that series is also uncertain, and he hopes to be able to join the IRL next season.

"My goal would be to come back to IndyCar in 2009, but right now I'm just trying to keep the lights on," he said.

Walker formed his team in 1991 after working in Roger Penske's IndyCar operation for 15 years. Their best result was finishing runner-up in the CART standings in 1997 with Gil de Ferran.

Three years ago Walker joined forces with Australian businessman Craig Gore to create the Team Australia brand, under which Will Power won two races and finished fourth in the Champ Car standings last season.

Walker and Gore have parted company, with Gore rumoured to be on the way to KV Racing to link up with countryman and former Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven.

"It's very sad because the Team Australia concept was working and this impacts a lot of good people," said Walker, who employs 40 staff at the team's Indianapolis headquarters and is now looking at other series for this season.

"I'm going to Mexico to check on the A1GP series to see if they need any personnel, because this team's biggest asset is its people."

shares
comments
Manning: It's possible to win with Foyt
Previous article

Manning: It's possible to win with Foyt

Next article

Stoddart rules out IRL campaign

Stoddart rules out IRL campaign
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Plus

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets is now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021