CHAMPCAR/CART: Walker Racing takes two

For the 15th season, Derrick Walker Racing will compete in the Champ Car World Series, with one veteran and a rookie handling the driving chores in a brace of Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone entries. The Scot tabbed French Canadian Alex Tagliani...

For the 15th season, Derrick Walker Racing will compete in the Champ Car World Series, with one veteran and a rookie handling the driving chores in a brace of Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone entries.

The Scot tabbed French Canadian Alex Tagliani to drive his #15 Lola for a fifth year of Champ Car competition and is bringing the talented Marcus Marshall for the #5 car. The team expects to announce commercial partners within the next week or so.

Tagliani, who won his first Champ Car race last season on Elkhart Lake's Road America road course after knocking on the victory door since his rookie season joins Walker Racing after two years each with Team Player's and Rocketsports Racing, with whom he took his break-out victory in August.

The uncertainty of his 2005 plans weighed heavily on Tagliani who is relieved and satisfied to be associated with the long-time Champ Car entrant. "I am really excited about this whole deal," Tagliani exhaled, "and to be racing in Champ Car because this is really where I wanted to be.

"Derrick has a well-established team here and a team that is very motivated to do well. We won't have a lot of testing time before Long Beach [the season opener April 8-10] but that could be an advantage," Tag continued, "because we will have more days to use during the year. This is a team with a lot of potential and I'm looking forward to the year."

The rookie of this bunch, Marshall comes to Walker Racing from Queensland, Australia, where he most recently ran in the Carrera Cup. He has worked in several European formulae including Formula Renault and Formula 3. Walker is noted for his ability to find new drivers and bring them along; Gil de Ferran was one of Derrick Walker's "finds".

Walker Racing was a single-car entrant during the 2004 season with Mario Haberfeld, the Brazilian driver in a #5 Cummins entry. He used Reynard chassis until the end of last year, when Walker finally came to the determination that the Lola was a car he needed to have in order to be competitive.

Walker purchased rolling stock from Bobby Rahal's Hilliard, OH-based team in order to increase competitiveness. "It's a big thanks to the team for working real hard to ramp up in the time we have left," noted Walker. "Needless to say I am really happy to welcome Alex and Marcus to our organization and have to give Team Rahal a special thanks for their technical assistance to us in adapting to the Lola chassis."

While there has been great speculation in the media concerning Walker Racing, the team owner never intended to leave the Champ Car arena. "The reality is we have had the elements of our two-car multi-year commitment for nearly two months. It takes time to find new sponsor partners," Walker recapped.

"This commitment is clearly an indication of how the series is gaining strength and the renewed interest of companies in the future of the Champ Car World Series." Mr. Walker's announcement of his driver lineup is only part of his 2005 Champ Car plans. He intends to make known the commercial partnerships for his two-car team within the next two weeks, Walker declared.

The reconfigured Walker Racing team intends to do shakedown runs on the Sebring airport circuit March 23-24 together with a number of their competitors prior to the 31st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Bobby Rahal , Alex Tagliani