The IZOD IndyCar Series has appointed Beaux Barfield as its new race director, following the decision to split the role from that of president of operations.

Barfield has held the equivalent position for the American Le Mans Series for the last three years, and previously was a Champ Car race steward from 2003 until 2008 while also serving as race director for the Champ Car-sanctioned Atlantic and Trans-Am series.

"Though Beaux's most recent experience is in sports car racing, his roots are in open-wheel racing," said the CEO of the IndyCar Series, Randy Bernard. "He has built a strong reputation as a race director with ALMS and bringing him on board ensures that IndyCar has a dedicated Race Director with the right level of expertise for the IZOD IndyCar Series."

Barfield was one of the leading candidates for the job once it was announced that Brian Barnhart would no longer be trying to combine the job of race director with his role as president of operations. Barfield has been signed on a one-year contract initially reporting directly to Bernard, and said that when it came to race calls and controversy, "I absolutely have the final say."

The reorganisation of roles follows a season that saw Barnhart came under a storm of criticism for a number of decisions in 2011, culminating in the decision to attempt a restart under wet conditions at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that Barnhart himself confessed afterwards had been a serious mistake.

Barnhart will now focus on his overall responsibilities for series officials, technical specifications, safety development and implementation, medical and event logistics, leaving Barfield to oversee all on-track activity and stewarding decisions during a race weekend as the senior official in race control.

As well as his ALMS and Champ Car experience, Barfield was previously chief steward for the USF2000 National Championship from 2001-2003 and also has experience as a driver, competing in karting, Formula Ford 2000 and Indy Lights.

"I grew up around racing, so I've been involved in it all my life," said Barfield. "I'm truly honoured to be a part of IndyCar."

Barfield admitted that it was the Greatest Spectacle in Motor Sport that had been the irresistible appeal of taking the job. "The one thing that I wanted to do as a racing driver growing up in America was to be involved with the Indy 500," he said. "When my driving career took a change of course and I found myself officiating, it was still a goal of mine to get to Indy car racing and the Indy 500. In that regard, it represents the pinnacle of my aspirations as a race official."

Barfield will take up his new role with immediate effect, Randy Bernard confirmed at the press conference confirming the appointment. "He'll begin with this organisation immediately," he said, adding: "His first task as a race director will be to lead a re-write of our rulebook ... We need a rulebook that is balanced."

Acknowledging Barfield's "strong reputation throughout the motorsports community", Bernard added: "When I met with several candidates for this position, some of the things that made Beaux stand out was the fact, first I thought he was very articulate, very forward thinking, and the fact of his experience."

Barfield said that he was keen to build strong links with the IndyCar community. I've had great, productive working relationships everywhere I've officiated: I look at drivers and team managers as peers, I treat them as such," he said. "The messages that I've received for the last 24 hours from team members and drivers where I come from are really overwhelming. I've had great support."

In a synchronised announcement, the American Le Mans Series said that Barfield would be replaced as ALMS' race director by Paul Walter.