CHAMPCAR/CART: Michael Valiante. Walker Racing team for 2004

Michael Valiante and Walker Racing team up in pursuit of 2004 Champ Car World Series ride. Vancouver, British Columbia (July 25, 2003) -- Michael Valiante and Walker Racing team owner Derrick Walker are joining forces in a sponsorship-seeking ...

Michael Valiante and Walker Racing team up in pursuit of 2004 Champ Car World Series ride.

Vancouver, British Columbia (July 25, 2003) -- Michael Valiante and Walker Racing team owner Derrick Walker are joining forces in a sponsorship-seeking effort aimed at producing a 2004 Champ Car World Series ride for the Vancouver driver, who is currently a championship contender with Lynx Racing in the CART Toyota Atlantic series.

Under the collaborative association that the two parties announced today, Valiante and Walker plan to pool their resources to extensively explore all sponsorship possibilities. If they are successful in rounding up sufficient financial support, Valiante would land a ride with Walker Racing, adding to the team's stable of talented young drivers for the 2004 season.

"I have watched Michael develop his skills tremendously in his Toyota Atlantic Championship career, and I have consistently been impressed by his talent," said Walker. "His record shows that he's in contention virtually every race weekend. He won the season-opener at Monterrey, he was on the podium in Portland and had a fourth-place finish at Molson Indy Toronto last weekend. He has shown, by his performance this season that he's more than ready to make the step up to Champ Cars, and we would consider ourselves fortunate to have him driving for Walker Racing."

In a motor-sports career that spans four decades, Walker has worked with a number of notable drivers who have won open-wheel races and championships under his watchful eye. The list includes Scott Goodyear, Gil de Ferran, Robby Gordon, Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan and Teo Fabi. Walker also helped Christian Fittipaldi and Sarah Fisher in their open-wheel racing debuts.

"From the time I started racing, my goal has always been to advance as far as I could in motorsports," remarked Valiante. "It's not an easy climb. Beyond having the driving skills, you need strong sponsorship support, and this collaborative search effort with such a well-respected racing team owner as Derrick Walker means a great deal to me. When a top-notch team such as Walker Racing is interested in your services, it's a great motivator, and I intend to do everything that I can to help make it happen."

Valiante, 23, is a former Canadian and North American Formula A karting champion and Barber Dodge series graduate who has steadily climbed the motor-racing echelon and is regarded as one of the top prospects to move up to the Champ Car World Series. He ran five Atlantic races in 2001 with Lynx Racing, a championship-winning driver development program that helped launch the careers of Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron, Memo Gidley and Buddy Rice. He ran the full complement of 12 races in 2002, winning three races, earning three podiums and finishing second in the drivers' championship.

With five races left on the 2003 Atlantic schedule, Valiante is in fifth place in the drivers' standings, with 76 points. He is 48 points behind leader A.J. Allmendinger, but only 22 out of second place, currently held by Ryan Dalziel.

Walker Racing, based in Indianapolis, Ind., enters its 13th season of Champ Car competition campaigning two rookies, Mexican Rodolfo Lavin and Brit Darren Manning. Walker Racing owns ten pole positions, 26 podium finishes and four Champ Car victories with Canadian Scott Goodyear capturing the team's first win at Michigan in 1992.

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About this article
Series Atlantic , IndyCar
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Darren Manning , Robby Gordon , Sarah Fisher , Scott Goodyear , Gil de Ferran , Memo Gidley , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Michael Valiante , Alex Barron , Rick Mears , Danny Sullivan , A.J. Allmendinger , Buddy Rice , Rodolfo Lavin , Teo Fabi