Monday, January 05, 2009

Hallam Ready for New Life in America with Novel Role at MWR

// Courtesy : Associated Press //

Cornelius, NC (January 5, 2008) - Steve Hallam, an engineer and manager the past 27 years in Formula One, is settling into his new office at Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) and a new life in America after leaving his post as head of operations for team McLaren based in Woking, Surrey, United Kingdom.

In September, it was announced that Hallam would be making the move to MWR to work in NASCAR leaving behind a rich history in Formula One. He has now assumed his new role as Director of Competition after moving around the globe to North Carolina to set up shop in the 140,000 sq. ft. factory.

"It would have been easy to stay at McLaren until I retired," Hallam said. "But what attracted me to Michael Waltrip Racing was the opportunity to work with a young team and, in particular, to be part of the continued development and growth of the multi-car Cup operation as they strive to provide the best equipment and support for their teams. This is a great opportunity to join a closely knit team who are looking to build success by harnessing Toyota engines and technical support to build cars at a level where we can improve upon the tremendous foundation that has already been built."

Toyota’s commitment to racing in NASCAR peaked Hallam’s interest. As he wanted to learn more about opportunities with NASCAR teams, Pete Spence, Group Vice President and Technical Director for TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) put him in contact with Calvin Wells III at MWR.

"Toyota was very influential with me coming here," Hallam said. "When Pete (Spence) started to talk to me and took me to a Cup race in November 2007, I realized there is life outside of Formula One and it is very exciting, different and challenging. I was converted and it didn’t take me long to realize I wanted to be a part of that. Pete asked if I minded that he put someone in touch with me. I said no and in no time, Cal called me about a position at MWR. I finished out the season with McLaren and accepted MWR's offer."

Hallam, 56, joined McLaren in December 1990 and was a race engineer for seven years until becoming McLaren’s head of race engineering, a role he remained in until being named head of race operations in 2007.

After announcing his move to MWR, Hallam rounded out his last season with McLaren by guiding Lewis Hamilton to the 2008 World Driving Championship with the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team. It was the sixth time Hallam had been part of a Formula One championship team, all with McLaren or Team Lotus, both British-based teams. In addition to working with Hamilton, the tech ace has also worked with drivers such as Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet, Michael Andretti, Gerhard Berger, Kimi Raikkonen and Mika Hakkinen.

The native of Great Britain has participated in over 435 Grand Prix winning five World Championships and now is ready to make his mark in NASCAR. Hallam will be leading the MWR organization into the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season as they field the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry and No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry full-time with drivers Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann. With the JTG-Daugherty Racing and MWR technical alliance in place under the same roof, Hallam will also assist the No. 47 Little Debbie® Toyota Camry team and driver Marcos Ambrose.

MWR owners Robert Kauffman and Michael Waltrip are proud to have someone of Hallam’s caliber leading the engineering staff as they embark upon their third full season of competition.

"Steve is a remarkable asset for any organization and I'm proud that he is joining ours," said MWR co-owner and driver Michael Waltrip. "He will be in a key position that will both allow him to learn about the NASCAR world while implementing the knowledge he has gained over the past 27 years in Formula One. This is another step that shows our employees, sponsors and all of NASCAR that MWR is serious about our desire to elevate our organization to an elite status in the Sprint Cup garage."

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