IndyCar confirmed on Monday that Derrick Walker will become President for Operations & Competition of IndyCar, effective May 27. Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles confirmed the appointment of the longtime U.S. motorsports figure, who had been in talks with IndyCar about such a role for some time.
Walker will be responsible for all technical and competition aspects of the racing operations at the open-wheel sanctioning body.
"We're pleased to welcome Derrick Walker to this vital role," said Miles, whose Hulman group is the parent company of IndyCar. "We spoke with many of our constituents about an ideal person for this job, and Derrick's name emerged early and often.
"After speaking with many talented candidates, Derrick stood out because his decades of experience in North American open-wheel racing blend ownership and management for his own race teams and other teams. He understands how to balance the technical and financial operations of our sport, and his confident leadership will provide a firm, clear direction for long-term IndyCar operations and competition."
IndyCar said Walker's senior-level leadership experience will help him to foster improved communication with series team owners and suppliers in these crucial areas:
• Cost management
• Enhancing innovation within the current technical platform and race formats
• Continuing to emphasize and develop safety initiatives
• Sustaining programs and avenues to develop drivers and suppliers for the IZOD IndyCar Series
• Developing plans for future technical platforms
"I have had the opportunity to participate in the business of professional racing my entire life, and I have gained valuable experience from many different angles," Walker said. "Leading the operations and competition aspects of IndyCar is a perfect place to leverage my experiences and relationships to help ensure that IndyCar racing is exciting and engaging for our fans, that our drivers and owners are able to showcase their talents through our events, and that our technical partners are able to use our racing platform for innovation and development."
Reporting directly to Walker will be Brian Barnhart, who will serve as senior vice president of operations; race director Beaux Barfield; vice president of technology Will Phillips; vice president of technology, timing and scoring Jon Koskey; director of grassroots initiatives Jason Penix; and Firestone Indy Lights director Tony George Jr.
Walker, 68, comes to IndyCar after serving as general manager for Ed Carpenter Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series, leading the team to a victory last September at Auto Club Speedway in the team's first season. A native of Scotland, Walker brings more than 40 years of experience in many forms of racing to IndyCar, beginning as a mechanic and culminating in the creation and ownership of a successful racing team, Walker Motorsports, Ltd., since 1990.
Over his career, Walker has worked with teams like Ferrari in sports car racing, Brabham and Penske Racing in Formula 1, and Porsche and Penske Racing in Indy cars. Walker spent 13 years with legendary Indianapolis 500 team owner Roger Penske as part of Penske Cars Ltd., which designed and manufactured race-winning Penske Indy cars in the UK, and also served as vice president of racing for Penske Racing.
Throughout Walker's 19 years as a team owner, he fielded multi-car teams in 414 races in IndyCar, Firestone Indy Lights and Formula BMW, earning six victories and 16 poles with drivers such as Gil de Ferran, Scott Goodyear, Christian Fittipaldi, Sarah Fisher, Alex Tagliani, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Paul Tracy. The team made Indianapolis 500 history in 1991 by fielding an entry for Willy T. Ribbs, who became the first African-American to qualify for the race.