Dave Walker

Dave Walker

10/6/1941

Dave Walker is an Australian ex F1 driver who raced for Lotus for one season as team mate to Emmerson Fittipladi in 1972. His record was eleven races, six retirements, no podium finishes and distiguished him as the only driver to fail to score a single point the same year as his team mate won the World Championship.

A rugged Australian who trained to be an accountant before a chance meeting with some motor sport enthusiasts led him to hill-climbing.

Dave came to Britain in 1962 dreaming of emulating the likes of Brabham, but soon realised that he was too inexperienced to make it at this stage and hitch-hiked home to go about racing in a more serious manner.

By 1966 he was back to begin an on-off Formula 3 career which saw him slowly climb the ladder. In 1967 he took the European trail in a Merlyn, winning a race at Ojatia, but during 1968-69 Walker was stuck in Formula Ford in the works Alexis.

However, he joined the works Lotus F3 team in 1970, winning the Lombank F3 championship, and in 1971 he was back for more, securing both the Shell and Forward Trust titles. Coming to the attention of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, Walker was handed his Formula One debut at the 1971 Dutch Grand Prix to drive the Lotus 56, powered by a Pratt & Whitney turbine engine. During the rain-affected race, Walker used the turbine car's advantages of four wheel drive and superior torque to rise from his starting position of 22nd to 10th place within five laps, but eventually spun off into retirement.

Walker was given a full time F1 seat to drive the Lotus 72 in the 1972 season, as number two driver to Emerson Fittipaldi. As the season went on, however, both Walker and the team became increasingly disenchanted. After Lotus discovered Walker had tested a Formula 2 car for another team, he was dropped from the team for the Italian GP and the Canadian GP, where he was replaced by Reine Wisell. Walker was back for the US GP, but retired.

In all, Fittipaldi won 5 races and scored 61 points, winning the championship, while Walker never finished a Grand Prix higher than 9th place ( in Spain). Lotus blamed Walker's allegedly inadequate driving technique, poor fitness and lack of mechanical sympathy; while Walker claimed Lotus gave him inferior equipment and gave far more attention to Fittipaldi's needs than his. He was not retained for the 1973 season, and was replaced by Ronnie Peterson. David Walker remains the only driver not to score a single F1 Championship point in the same season his team-mate won the F1 driver's title.

Set to race for GRD in Formula 2 in 1973, Dave suffered two separate road accidents, breaking a leg in one and an arm in the other, but came back to race in 2-litre sports car events. He then had a brief stab at F5000 in 1975, before trying his hand at Canadian Formula Atlantic.

Has recently had some success in the yacht charter business on the eastern coast of Australia.

(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000, Wikipedia

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