Alex Walker: Pursuing a new challenge
Since joining the Walero athlete ranks as the winner of our inaugural Be The Next Walero Athlete competition in 2021, Alex Walker has certainly made a name for himself in the world of motorsport. Always one to put in the effort and with a tenacious attitude for success both on and off the track, 2023 has seen Alex take a step onto a new path in his career and he has relished the opportunity from the very beginning.
Alex Walker’s career has been one full of promise and excitement from the first moments he set foot on a race track, from his exemplary karting record to his fantastic achievements in British Formula Ford, his dedication to pursue a dream of racing in single-seaters has seen him battle it out with the very best week after week. Now a new challenge has seen Alex embark into GT Racing and it is certainly one he is relishing.
However, the beginning of 2023 saw Alex at a crossroads in his racing journey, after making a name for himself in the GB4 Championship, where he notched up an impressive three wins, five podiums, three pole positions and two fastest laps, the time came for Alex to reassess the options and really take a look into where he wanted to go with his fledgling racing career.
“2022 was a fantastic year for myself, we put on a cracking show in GB4 and definitely mixed it with the very best, but unfortunately budget restraints meant that we just didn’t have enough steam to make it to the end of the season, which was gutting. But we picked ourselves up and headed into 2023 with a new mindset and simply wanted to get back out on track no matter what!”
“This year has certainly been a unique one, we didn’t have much to go off at the start of the year, there wasn’t really any room to progress any further up the single seater ladder, even after the success we had experienced, so we ended up searching for some alternatives really.”
Alex would take some time away from racing in the opening months of 2023 to in his own words ‘assess the options’ and explore some new racing opportunities when the time arose. With the months passing, Alex would finally get his chance to jump back behind the wheel of a race car, but it was definitely not the machinery he was expecting.
“So the chance came along to race in the BMW M2 Cup over in Europe supporting the DTM and ADAC Masters racing series. They had reached out to me previously around two years ago wanting to get me more involved with the championship and at the time I was fully focused on pursuing the single-seater dream so turned it down.”
“When we were in the sense ‘stuck’ at the beginning of 2023, we spoke to Hans at BMW and he was really enthusiastic about getting me to compete! They gave us a great deal and a level of support that I had never experienced before which was the icing on the cake really.”
Jumping at the opportunity, Alex would embark on a full season campaign in Europe, on some of the continents most iconic tracks from the tight and cramped street circuit of the Norisring to the fast flowing Lausitzring, it would give Alex the chance to race on brand new tracks, in a brand new car against a brand new form of opposition.
This year, Alex notched up plenty of points finishes and narrowly missed out on several podiums after intense on track battles, but for him it was definitely more than he would have asked for when he got behind the wheel of the car for the first time.
“I had plenty of fun this season, it felt amazing to be back out on track again if I’m completely honest. Every race was a last minute call, so much so that we would always have to drive to the tracks on Wednesday because all the flights were booked! It ended up being a challenge just to get there let alone compete in the race, but it was an experience I am eternally grateful for and wouldn’t change it for the world.”
“I think we put in a good showing once again considering the circumstances. I had never driven the BMW before, let alone a car with a roof over my head, so it was a constant learning experience for myself at every race weekend. It was a steep learning curve, but one that was rewarding when you got it right. I had to adapt my driving style from a single seater and learn how the car handled, how the setup would make the differences and the race-craft was undoubtedly a lot more intense.”
“Although we missed out on the podium a few times, we still got some valuable points finishes along the way and it really made me realise how much I enjoyed racing as a whole. The Norisring was my favourite weekend that I have ever competed in, it was such a cool track and unique experience with it being my first street circuit,” he excitedly recalls.
With the BMW M2 Cup reaching its conclusion and plenty of lessons learnt and valuable experience gained behind the wheel, another fantastic opportunity would arise for Alex towards the end of 2023 as he got the chance to compete for Paddock Motorsport, piloting their McLaren 570s GT4 machine in the GT Cup.
“When the chance came to drive with Paddock Motorsport, I leapt at it,” he explains. “I felt that the time spent in the BMW M2 Cup had really given me the experience I needed to go out and give it a good go, so I actually felt full of confidence coming into my debut race. I competed in two full race weekends with the team and we finished on the podium in three out of the four races which was just brilliant and not too shabby for a rookie,” he joked.
“This year has seen me take on two completely new challenges to the racing that I had previously competed in, the difference between single-seaters and GT machinery is massive as everyone knows, but it was incredibly rewarding to not only learn a new style of racing and driving, but being successful from the get go was the key for me.”
“The real highlight for me from competing in GT Cup this season was that round at Donington for sure. In my stint it went from soaking wet to dry to wet again and I ended up catching a fellow Pro driver by 18 seconds over the course of my stint, which was a real pinch me moment. It felt like I had found my calling as a racing driver, yes I always had a dream of Formula One and the pinnacle of single-seater competition but now that I’ve experienced GT racing I feel like this is where I belong.”
When asked about his dreams and aspirations for the future, Alex provided an immediate answer that didn’t require any further explanation.
“The dream is the top level of GT competition now, it’s at the forefront of my mind and it’s 100% where I want to be when the time comes. With the newfound growth in GT racing around the world, I feel I’ve made the right decision to move away from single seaters and hopefully I will get the chance to compete alongside the very best in the next few years. I believe in myself and my abilities, so I just have to go out there each week and do the best I can to get there!”
Alongside his racing endeavours over the past two years, Alex has also started an exciting new journey at Bath University, studying for a degree in Sports Science and Management which caters for elite athletes from a wealth of sports from racing to football.
“Starting the degree has given me another chance to add more strings to my bow and I feel it has really helped me off the track this year with the likes of health and nutrition, the correct approach to fitness and even with aspects of marketing and public speaking which are all crucial elements of a racing driver’s career. It has been tricky to balance studying with the racing at times, but when I look back on these three years it will be full of fond memories.”
Overall it is clear to see that Alex doesn’t lack commitment or confidence when it comes to pursuing his dreams of racing and we are delighted to have him as part of the Walero family for years to come as he chases the goal of competing amongst the very best for years to come.