Walker Racing announced their 2003 plans for racing in CART's Champ Car World Series today at their Indianapolis shop. As previously reported at Motorsport.com, Rodolfo Lavin will be driving Walker's #5 Corona-sponsored Reynard this season. Walker's second Reynard (#15) will be driven by young British star, Darren Manning, and will carry the logo of the Royal Auto Club.
Manning made an impressive Champ Car debut last season at the Rockingham oval with the Team St. George effort operated by Dale Coyne, also with RAC backing. He finished that race in ninth place and led a few laps despite a problem with one of the pit stops. The 26-year-old driver from North Yorkshire was most recently driving as a test driver for the BAR Formula 1 team since the 2000 race season. Prior to that assignment, Manning competed for four seasons in F3 cars, the first three in the UK and in the All Japan F3 series in 1999. While testing for BAR, Manning also found time to compete in the International F3000 series and the ASCAR stock-car series.
Lavin has gained much experience in the CART Ladder Series, competing in the now-defunct Indy Lights series from 1996-2000 and switching to the Toyota Atlantic Championship for the two most recent seasons. He was consistently competitive in his two Atlantic seasons, finishing in the top ten in points in both years. Lavin's best race finish came last year - a second place at the Milwaukee oval.
Walker Racing is entering their thirteenth season of Champ Car competition, and have won many races over the years with drivers Gil de Ferran, Robby Gordon and Scott Goodyear. Walker's driver for his single-car effort last season, Tora Takagi, has moved over to the IRL's Indy Car series with former CART team Mo Nunn Racing. Walker, the owner and distributor for the Reynard Champ Car chassis, will of course be using Reynard chassis for the 2003 season.