Walker Racing pre-season testing report Indianapolis, IN. - Walker Racing has begun its 2007 Atlantic campaign as they completed a successful weekend of testing at Sebring International Raceway in Florida January 27-28. The Atlantic squad tested its newest members Briton Ryan Lewis and Swiss Simona De Silvestro (pictured right), along with two Atlantic hopefuls Brit Nathan Freke and American Jonathan Summerton.
The weekend not only marked the beginning of a competitive season for the reigning Atlantic champions, but marked the fourth series of tests for them as well. Walker Racing made a number of impressive changes, learned a lot about the car and logged in a total of 240 laps around the 1.66 mile road course totaling 398 miles in the Mazda-Cosworth/Swift 016a Atlantic chassis.
“This was a very successful test for us,” stated Walker Racing owner Derrick Walker. “Each driver that we tested at some point of each session ran right at the front, they didn’t miss a beat. We learned a lot as team and made a number of changes on the cars.”
Topping the time charts for the Atlantic team was its newest member, Ryan Lewis. The 22 year-old was the sixth fastest on Saturday with a time of 58.864 and third fastest on Sunday clocking a fast lap time of 58.885 seconds. “I think our days went really well. We got some good times in. I don’t think it’s exactly where we wanted to be, but we learned what worked and what didn’t work and we will be better on the pace for MSR Houston next month,” commented Lewis.
Getting more and more seat time, De Silvestro completed a successful fourth test with the team as she finished seventh fastest on Saturday with a time of 58.922 and sixth fastest on Sunday with a time of 58.96 seconds. “It was a really good weekend. I now understand the car a lot better. I’m still learning a lot, but each time I get in the car it gets better and better. I’m really happy and being able to test with all the Atlantic drivers gave me a better idea of where I need to be,” said De Silvestro.
The Indianapolis based crew continued their search for another driver to complete their 2007 line-up as they tested British Formula Ford star Nathan Freke and F3 Euro Series standout Jonathan Summerton.
Former 2006 British Formula Ford champion, Freke got his first taste of an Atlantic car this weekend clocking a fast lap time of 59.974 seconds as he tested Saturday for the team. “This was a great new experience for me. It definitely was a steep learning curve, but I got a lot of valuable seat time. It was great working with the team and it was a good test overall,” stated Freke.
The fourth driver testing the Walker Racing Atlantic car was American Jonathan Summerton, who progressed nicely throughout Sunday’s practice session. The 18 year-old and former F3 Euro Series star had the tenth fastest lap time of 59.996 seconds. “I really enjoyed my first time in the Atlantic car. It’s very similar to the F3 car, so it was easy to adjust. The test worked out really well. It’s all about learning and getting seat time,” commented Summerton.
Walker Racing enters their second season as an Atlantic team after announcing the move at the 2005 Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfer’s Paradise, Australia. 2006 marked the first year for the team and a very good season at that, as they brought home the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship title with Frenchman rookie Simon Pagenaud.
Stay tuned as the team continues pre-season testing at MSR Houston February 9-10. Walker Racing will continue their search for drivers to complete their 2007 line-up. For more updates on the team please visit www.walkerracing.com.