Derrick Walker played a part in many wins
and championships while working for Penske
from 1976 to ’ 87. The highlight of his 11
years there? Danny Sullivan’s amazing
spin-and-win at the 1985 Indy 500 (LEFT).
OF OPERATIONS AND
Soon after taking on his new role,
Derrick Walker invited RACER.com
readers to submit questions on IndyCar’s
aero kits, horsepower levels, schedules,
race procedure and, though it’s outside
his specific remit, marketing the series.
Here’s a selection of his answers.
the world’s resources. A series that
carries on without a care for public opinion
is doomed. IndyCar can be a tremendous
testbed for green technology – but without
letting it dominate so that the series ceases
to be a sport. We must have a place for
new tech…and that’s why we have plans
to do exactly that in the future.
Is IndyCar looking to make the series
It needs to, because every race series has
to be conscious of where car manufacturers
are heading, and what’s happening with
How would you respond to the suggestion
that IndyCars are too easy to drive - too
much downforce in relation to horsepower?
I would agree.
At Le Mans, they have Garage 56 for
experimental cars. Will IndyCar ever set
up a similar program for the Indy 500
allowing a 34th car to start if it is of an
alternative design or powerplant?
That’s a good idea. I think racing has to
be about technology and has to be at the
sharp end of development of automobiles
and power sources, so I’m in favor of having
the provisions to allow that sort of thing,
yes. If someone fronted up with a serious
effort, they’d get a serious answer. There
haven’t been too many people doing that,
Several readers wrote
to ask when the Dallara
DW12 would become
available for the
Derrick Walker has
pledged to look into it.
We’ll keep you posted...
I don’t like the 10-place grid penalty
for unscheduled engine changes
because although it does what it’s
supposed to for the manufacturer,
it’s not right to punish drivers and teams,
too. For example, it would be bad to
see races or even titles decided by this
rule. So something needs to be done
that restricts the manufacturers and
penalizes them for changing engines
too early, without affecting the driver.
…MORE PRACTICE TIME
IndyCar teams should get more track
time; race days where you don’t have
a morning warm-up mean there’s not
a lot of chance for fans to see the cars.
More practice combined with the
current number of test days would
also make economic sense, saving on
the expense of a trip to Sebring or
wherever. And fans benefit by seeing
their heroes on track more often. I’ll
be consulting teams about this matter.
…LONG CAUTION PERIODS
On my priority list is to sit down with
the Safety Team and revisit situations
to help make the clear-ups quicker
without compromising safety at all.
The team understands the urgency of
getting back to a green-flag situation
as soon as possible, and I just need to
understand how we might help them
be quicker. We’re losing good TV time
and losing the more casual fans if the
full course cautions seem endless.