Nancy Knapp Schilke, ALMS correspondent
Paul Walter who has been with the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) sanctioning body, IMSA, as an official since 2005 and today, he was named as the new Race Director. Walter will take over the duties held by Beaux Barfield who left IMSA for his new position at IndyCar. Walter has the needed experience and the background plus his most recent position was Clerk of the Course.
“Paul was the obvious choice to take over race control,” said Scot Elkins, COO of IMSA. “Our competitors know him very well as he has been the de-facto Assistant Race Director for the last three years. His knowledge of the series and the ALMS rulebook is better than anyone, and the consistency he brings to Race Control will help us continue building on what was a fantastic 2011 season.”
I look forward to the challenges ahead...
The 2012 season opener for the ALMS includes the first round of the new FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Walter will step into the challenging role at the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The endurance race on the historic circuit is also one of the crown jewels for the series.
Walter will also handle the driver and team manager meetings on each race weekend and as the former team manager for the Tasman Motorsports Group in CART, he understands their point of view.
Hailing from Columbus, Ohio which is just south of Mid-Ohio – one of the tracks on the ALMS calendar – the new leader in the IMSA race control room will bring his own background in a variety of series: The former North American Touring Car Championship (NATC), Formula BMW, CART / Champ Car World Series (CCWS). Walter is currently the Race Director with the USF2000 National Championship.
“It's an honor to be named Race Director for the American Le Mans Series and to continue working closely with the tremendous group of professionals that have made my years at IMSA so enjoyable,” Walter said. “I look forward to the challenges ahead, building on the continuity and success that our dedicated competitors and everyone at IMSA and the American Le Mans Series have worked so hard to develop over these years. I'm proud of our Race Control team and expect to build on our strengths and consistency.”
The IMSA staff is truly a tight-knit group and when one leaves, it is rare but some leave due to retirement, health issues, a new position in motor sports or simply a change in their career path. While they will miss Barfield, they also are ready to start the new season with their new Race Director.
“We’re extremely proud of the group we have at IMSA and glad to have Paul taking this leadership role within Race Control,” Elkins added. “We appreciate the time Beaux Barfield spent with us and are very proud that IndyCar recognized the level of talent we have within IMSA. We see that as a compliment to our organization and our approach. We wish Beaux the best and look forward to moving into the future with Paul.”