Daytona, FL:- Russell Walker is making his Sportscar Racing debut this coming weekend at the world-famous Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona International Speedway. P1 Groupe sat down with Walker to get his thoughts on the upcoming race, as well as some...
Daytona, FL:- Russell Walker is making his Sportscar Racing debut this coming weekend at the world-famous Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona International Speedway. P1 Groupe sat down with Walker to get his thoughts on the upcoming race, as well as some personal insight for fans look to get to know the young driver a little better.
P1 Groupe: How did you get started in racing?
Russell Walker: It started with my father, David Walker. He has always been a passionate race fan, especially of the higher tiers. He would drag us to the southern Grand Prix's such as New Orleans; run under IMSA at the time. I remember being covered in oil from watching for so long and being so close! Loud things really scared me so initially I really seemed to not enjoy it, but I stubbornly caught on to what was going on. Then in 2001 I received an amazing gift from parents, which was BMW 325is Coupe with the manual 5-Speed. My parents quickly recognized my passion for being behind the wheel, and the following Christmas they sent me to the Skip Barber 3- Day school at Motorsport Ranch in Texas. I was more than "hooked", you could say, and was quickly setting times as fast as the instructors! My father actually ended up following my lead too, attending the 3-day school himself at MSR in November 2002. After learning our skills we decided to get a Radical Sr3, 1500. After learning EVERYTHING the hard way we were forced to move to something competitive; the standard Formula Mazda. I turned many laps at MSR then joined the 2004 South West Region SCCA, Formula Mazda.
P1: What has been your most memorable racing moment so far?
RW: Becoming in tune with driving in the rain, at a race in Portland in 2007. It's amazing when you hit the realization that in those conditions, every lap is different and that's ok because you are in control even though your vision may be severely impaired.
P1: What are your feelings about taking the step into sports car and GT racing?
RW: Because I did not start in Karting, I learned the limit in a lower HP, great handling sports car. When I moved to open wheel sprint racing, it was foreign to me; everyday was a vertical learning curve. In a way, coming over to GT cars feels a little coming "home".
P1: What are your thoughts on racing in such a famous international event such as the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona?
RW: I'm incredibly honored, actually. I'm going to be racing against people I've looked up to for years. I'm also incredibly grateful to my family, and really all of the people that helped me to realize this dream.
P1: What non-racing goals do you have in life?
RW: To become successful in business. Over time my dream would be to develop a large, efficient, and ergonomic motor sports facility.
P1: What road car do you drive currently?
RW: 2007 BMW 335i Coupe,
P1: What would your dream road car be?
RW: Porsche GT1, factory color white.
P1: If you could pick one race to win, what would it be?
RW: Either the 24 Hours of Le Mans, or the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
P1: Who would you say your childhood hero has been growing up?
RW: Mika Hakkinen, Schumacher, Senna.
P1: Who is the driver that you admire the most that still races currently?
RW: Kimi Raikkonen
P1: What race car from the past would you have like to have driven?
RW: Ferrari 333 SP IMSA Prototype.
P1 Groupe wishes Russell the absolute best this coming weekend. A safe race and a quick pace! We will catch up with Russell after the race to bring his reactions.