This week not only marked the beginning of a competitive season for the Indianapolis based crew, but was the fourth series of tests for them as well. Walker Racing made a number of impressive changes, learned a lot about the cars and logged in a total of 678 laps around the 1.669 mile road course totaling 1,125 miles in the Mazda-Cosworth/Swift 016a Atlantic chassis.
“This was a very successful test for us," stated Walker Racing owner Derrick Walker. “We learned a lot as a team and made a number of changes on the cars."
Topping the time charts for the Atlantic team was Kevin Lacroix, who signed with the team in August. The 19 year-old Saint-Eustache, Quebec, Canada native was the sixth fastest on Tuesday with a time of 58.004 seconds and 8th fastest today clocking a fast lap time of 58.2 seconds. “It was difficult in the beginning of testing, but we definitely caught up. The difference between us and other drivers that have been with their teams, they have more experience and we are still learning, but we are getting there. We keep on learning and we will be going to another track, which will up us to gain more information," commented Lacroix.
Lacroix got his start competing in various karting series in 1996, winning multiple championships and continued to move up the ladder finishing second in the 2005 Formula BMW USA championship with four victories and six podiums. In 2006 he finished second in the Star Mazda championship with five podiums and ten top-five results and earned the Star Mazda Rookie of the Year title. The Canadian joined Brooks Racing Champ Car Atlantic program in Portland scoring his first Champ Car Atlantic victory in just his second career start. Lacroix will be entering his second year in Atlantics.
Getting more and more seat time, Greg and Leo Mansell, sons of former Champ Car champion Nigel Mansell, completed a successful fourth test with the team. The two brothers have always competed on the same teams together, starting out in karts, making their way up the open wheel ladder competing in the Formula BMW UK Championship in 2006 and the British F3 International Series in 2007. The duo signed with Walker Racing in November to compete in Atlantics for the 2008 season.
Greg finished 11th fastest on Tuesday with a time of 58.429 seconds and 14th fastest today with a time of 58.3 seconds. “This was a good test for us. It was nice to see where we are with the others. It was definitely a challenging two days and we struggled a little bit in the beginning, but once we got the car hooked up we were running P3 and P5. Overall, I’m very happy with where we finished," said Greg Mansell.
Leo also grew more comfortable with the car as he logged a total of 204 laps over the two day test. He was the 20th quickest time with 58.881 seconds on the first day and was the 21st fastest on day two with a time of 59.5 seconds. “It was an on and off test for us. We tried some different things and are learning more about the car which is the main thing," stated Leo Mansell.
Walker Racing enters their third season as an Atlantic team. In their very first season the team won the Champ Car Atlantic championship with Frenchman Simon Pagenaud and for 2008 they make another bold move as they run three cars for the season.
Stay tuned as the team continues pre-season testing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on March 10th and 11th. For more updates on the team please visit www.walkerracing.com