IndyCar confirms Derrick Walker as new President of Competition, Operations

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Derrick Walker was introduced Monday as IndyCar’s new President of Operations and Competition. The confirmation follows a report by Robin Miller on SPEED.com last week.

Walker will be responsible for all technical and competition aspects of the racing operations at the open-wheel sanctioning body. A team of six others will report directly to him, and Walker will report directly to Mark Miles, the CEO of IndyCar parent company Hulman & Co.

The five key areas he’ll look after include: 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, and developing plans for future technical platforms.

“I am going to the dark side and happily so,” said Walker, 68, who worked with Penske Racing as a mechanic, then team manager, before starting his own race team in IndyCar.

“It is a lot to learn. Fortunately there is a lot of good people at IndyCar that have been around a heck of a lot longer on this side of the fence than me. So I expect to be on a very steep learning curve and find my place in how to influence or how to help steer the governing body.

“I think when you look at the quality of the field of IndyCar, it demands a strong governing body that has a vision and the leadership that is required to match the quality of our teams.

“So we have a responsibility and obligation to be as good as we can as a governing body. So hopefully I can fit into that matrix somewhere there.”

The team reporting to Walker includes: 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 Anton “Tony” George Jr.

Walker will leave his post as team manager with Ed Carpenter Racing in IndyCar and begin his new role with the series on May 27.

Additionally, Walker said this weekend in Monterey, Calif. that if he took the IndyCar role, he would continue his team manager role with Team Falken Tire if the team continues into the 2014 merged sports car championship, United Sports Car Racing.

In Monterey, the No. 17 Porsche driven by Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler finished second in the GT class despite a post-race points penalty assessed for the car failing its stall test in post-race inspection.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”