Derrick Walker will step down from his position following the final race of the 2015 season.
After much fanfare for his hiring a little more than two years ago, the tenure of Derrick Walker as president of competition and operations for the Verizon IndyCar Series will end after the final race of the year, the Go Pro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, scheduled for August 30.
Walker’s resignation was announced by Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns the series. Miles said Walker intends “to pursue other professional opportunities.”
Walker made his name as a team manager and team owner in the Indy car series and the American Le Mans Series. The 70-year-old Scot worked as a mechanic for the Brabham Formula One team, moving to Roger Penske’s F1 squad in the ill-fated 1976 season, when driver Mark Donohue died while running 7th in the championship. Walker remained with Team Penske through the 1987 season, then left to manage the Porsche Indy car team following the death of team owner/driver Al Holbert. Walker purchased the assets of the team and renamed it Walker Motorsports.
As an IndyCar team owner, Walker had success with Scott Goodyear, Paul Tracy, Robby Gordon and Gil de Ferran. In the latter stages of the Champ Car World Series, Walker’s drivers were Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, now teammates on Team Penske. After that series joined the IRL to form INDYCAR, Walker worked with Falken Tire and ran their factory squad in ALMS.
His contributions to IndyCar
In announcing Walker’s resignation, Miles noted the Scotsman’s many contributions, including the securing of a new, Boston, Mass. venue, successfully introducing the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis road race let year, the improved technology in Race Control and he led the new aero kit era forward. Walker’s “continuous safety advancement resulted in changes to the Indy car underwing, making the cars more stable and strengthening side pods, further protecting drivers,” the series’ owner said.
Walker said he has “appreciated the opportunity to work closely with the team owners, drivers and the team at INDYCAR. After two and a half racing seasons, I believe the timing is right to move on to other opportunities.”
Walker has had an unenviable job in Race Control, dealing with a triumvirate of decision-makers and being the final arbiter of penalties and fines. It’s role that seems unsuited to the genial gentleman and likely hastened his decision to remove himself from the Verizon IndyCar Series’ roster of officials.