Walker Racing announces second Car for David Besnard for Surfer's Paradise
INDIANAPOLIS (October 16, 2004) - Walker Racing announced today that it will enter a second car for Australian V8 Supercar veteran and former U.S. F2000 champion David Besnard at the upcoming Lexmark Indy 300, October 22-24 in Surfers Paradise, Australia.
With the addition of Bensard to the team for Australia and Canadian Michael Valiante piloting a second Walker entry for the Gran Premio Telmex-Tecate presented by Banamex in Mexico City, November 5-7, it now appears that the Indianapolis-based Champ Car team is gearing up for full-time two-car effort in the coming seasons.
"Finally we are back to a two car team, which I believe will make Walker Racing even more competitive for the last two races of the 2004 Champ Car season," said team owner Derrick Walker. "This entry for the Lexmark Indy 300 was finalized late, but we are prepared to campaign two cars in Australia as well as in Mexico City. Hopefully, this is an indication of what is in store for our team in the coming seasons," Walker noted.
Besnard, 27, who was born in Sidney, but resides on the Gold Coast, is no stranger to American open-wheel cars, having run two years in the U.S. F2000 series, winning the title on the strength of eight wins and eight poles in 1998. He currently drives for the Wright Patton Shakespeare V8 Supercar team, but will forgo his V8 driving responsibilities in Surfers Paradise to run the #15 Walker Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone entry, which will be sponsored by Wright Patton Shakespeare Financial Group, in the main event.
Wright Patton Shakespeare Financial Group is lead by Craig Gore. Gore, 37, is one of Australia's most high profile young businessmen with interests ranging from property development and financial services through to agriculture and construction. He is the chairman of Wright Patton Shakespeare Financial Group, an emerging financial services company and the sponsor of his race team, WPS Racing. The company entered motorsport in February 2004 when Gore formed his own two-car Ford team to compete in Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series. The primary motivation for Gore's interest in motorsport was to brand Wright Patton Shakespeare ahead of a national rollout of offices. The initiative has started to pay handsome dividends, with Wright Patton Shakespeare now synonymous with Australian motorsport. Besnard was the foundation driver recruited to WPS Racing.
Commenting on Besnard's move to Champ Cars for the 2004 Lexmark Indy 300 Gore said, "David tried to break into the Champ Cars some years ago but basically ran out of cash and he returned to Australia to forge a career in our V8 Supercar series. When the opportunity arose to get an Aussie behind the wheel at Indy I knew he was an obvious choice and it will be extremely satisfying to see David on the starting grid. There have been a lot of people who have helped make this possible, including Kevin Kalkhoven and Derrick Walker, so I'm extremely grateful for their support. The Indy race is extremely popular in Australia and this year we will probably get a record crowd courtesy of us having a local driver in the field."
Walker added that, "The Gold Coast has been one of Champ Cars biggest supporters, so it will be great for the fans to have a local guy in the race," Walker . The Walker Racing team is looking forward to working with David and the folks at Wright Patton Shakespeare and are confident that we can have a successful race.'
Besnard has run in Australia's top V8 series for the last four years, making 50 starts. He has three podium finishes with a victory coming in the 2002 Queensland 500. Bresnard finished eight in the championship in that season, marking his best effort since joining the V8Supercar series in 2001.
Besnard will team with second-year driver Mario Haberfeld (#5 Cummins Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) in the race on the 2.795-mile Surfers Paradise street circuit. Haberfeld has been one of the most consistent drivers in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford field this year, standing second in laps and miles completed. The Brazilian is currently 13th in the championship with two races remaining.