Walker Racing Signs F-1 Veteran Nakano for 2000 CART FedEx Series Team Also Renews Agreement to Run Dominating Honda Powerplant
INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 2, 1999) - Walker Racing, one of only 7 winning CART FedEx Championship Series teams last year, announced that Japanese driver Shinji Nakano has been named to pilot the team's Honda-powered Reynard Champ Car next season.
Team owner Derrick Walker said: "Shinji has successful experience in Formula One and other powerful open-wheel road-racing series. We're pleased that he's onboard with us and welcome him to CART. Our first priority now is to help him adapt to Champ Cars and CART's unique brand of high-speed oval racing." The team begins testing in mid-December.
Nakano, 28, spent 1999 as a test and development driver for winning Formula One team Jordan Grand Prix, powered by the Mugen Honda engine. Prior to that, he worked with the Prost and Minardi Formula One teams. He has scored Formula One points in Australia, Canada and Hungary. Nakano is a native of Osaka and lives in Tokyo and Indianapolis.
Walker also announced that the team was returning to competition with the Honda powerplant for the 4th consecutive year. "Our goal is to be as successful as possible in this very competitive environment. Honda's consistency, technical support and design superiority have won the last 4 CART championships," said Walker. "This choice was easy."
Walker Racing of Indianapolis won one race (Portland, Ore.) and two pole positions (Motegi, Japan and Toronto, Canada) in the 1999 season. Walker's resume includes 5 Indy 500 wins, 33 CART victories, 5 CART championships and 5 Formula One victories. The team was founded in 1990. The 20-race 2000 CART season begins March 26 in Homestead (Miami), Fla.
Nationality: Japanese Birthdate: April 4, 1971 Resides: Tokyo, Japan & Indianapolis, Indiana Birthplace: Osaka, Japan Personal: Single, 5'7" tall, 141 lbs.
Racing Record 1984-89: Japanese karting champion in several categories, Japanese Formula 3 in 1989 1990-91: British Formula Vauxhall and European Formula Opel championships 1992-96: Japanese Formula 3 and Japanese Formula Nippon (equivalent to Indy Lights), one victory, regular top 6 competitor in both series 1997: Formula 1 with Prost Mugen Honda Team, 6th place finishes at Canadian and Hungary, additional top 10 results at Australia, Germany, and the European Grand Prix. 1998: Formula 1 with Scuderia Minardi, finished 7th in Canada, additional top 10 results at Monaco, England and Belgium. 1999: Formula 1 test driver for Jordan Mugen Honda Team