Derrick Walker’s senior-level leadership experience fit what Hulman & Company chief executive officer Mark Miles sought for the position of INDYCAR president of operations and competition.
Miles introduced Walker, 68, during a news conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Walker, general manager of Ed Carpenter Racing, will join INDYCAR on May 27.
“We’re pleased to welcome Derrick Walker to this vital role,” Miles said. “We spoke with many of our constituents about an ideal person for this job and Derrick’s name emerged early and often.
"His experience is the first thing that struck me as I got to know Derrick. But then there's a lot about this person that I really like. He's straightforward; he's got great common sense. He's got the conviction of his principles and we know that he'll help make clear, firm decisions and have the strength of character to stick by them. I know that Derrick's experience is well-regarded as broadly as anybody's could be in the paddock. So we think there's a lot to do and Derrick is the right man to lead us through it."
Miles said a senior leader for the commercial side of INDYCAR will be addressed soon.
Among Walker's responsibilities will be enhancing communication with team owners, manufacturers and suppliers, fostering innovation within the current technical platform with an eye toward future development and sustaining safety initiatives.
"I'm from the team background. Never have crossed over to the official side. So this is for me not only an opportunity, but a real challenge that I'm looking forward to," Walker said. “I feel if I can give something back to the sport in whatever way that is, then I'd love that opportunity.
"Fortunately there are 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."
Ed Carpenter sought out Walker in 2011 to direct the start up of the IZOD IndyCar Series team.
"While we will miss Derrick being part of Ed Carpenter Racing, we are excited about his new opportunity to join the leadership team at INDYCAR," said Carpenter, the lone team owner/driver in the series. "He really was the architect of our team and helped us establish a very strong foundation that will continue to lead future successes. Although we wish him well, we will enjoy our last month working together, and if all goes according to plan, we will drink milk together at the end of the month before he moves on to his new responsibilities."
A native of Scotland, Walker has been involved in multiple forms of racing -- from a mechanic to a team owner. Over his four-decade career, Walker has worked with teams such as Ferrari in sports car racing, Brabham and Penske Racing in Formula One and Porsche and Penske Racing in Indy car.
Throughout Walker’s 19 years as a team owner, he fielded multi-car teams in 414 races in Indy car, 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.
Walker Racing 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.
Reporting directly to Walker will be Brian Barnhart, who will serve as senior vice president of operations; IZOD IndyCar Series 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 George Jr.