The British driver enjoyed a head-turning IndyCar testing debut with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at Sebring.
Jack Hawksworth is ready to grasp a golden opportunity to stake his claim to a 2014 IndyCar Series seat, with Dale Coyne Racing set to run him in a Honda manufacturer test at Sebring International Raceway in Florida on Wednesday (December 18).
A Brit in America, Hawksworth took the States by storm during the course of a record-breaking rookie campaign across the other side of the Atlantic in 2012 as he sped to the fiercely-contested Star Mazda Championship crown. The gifted young Bradford-born ace subsequently consolidated his stateside standing this year, doing battle for the Firestone Indy Lights laurels one step further up the US open-wheel ladder.
Coyne’s eponymously-named, Illinois-based outfit has established race-winning pedigree in the IndyCar arena, and in 2013, tasted success with two British drivers. Mike Conway triumphed on the streets of downtown Detroit, whilst Justin Wilson wound up sixth in the points table with four rostrums to his credit.
Now, fellow Yorkshireman Hawksworth is revved up to make the most of his own big chance behind the wheel of the squad’s 650bhp Dallara-Honda single-seater at Sebring’s notoriously bumpy and abrasive, 1.65-mile former airfield.
The British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) SuperStar and 2012 McLaren Autosport Award finalist enjoyed a head-turning IndyCar testing debut with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at the same circuit in September – with the team’s engineer describing him as ‘very impressive’, ‘very capable’ and benefitting from ‘a great attitude and focus and a very intelligent approach’. Second time around, he is keen to put all that he learned during those initial exploratory laps to constructive effect.
“The Honda manufacturer test is a massive shop window and an exciting opportunity to measure myself against the leading IndyCar drivers and really prove my potential at the highest level,” Hawksworth affirmed. “There will be some championship-winning teams and drivers there, and if I do a good job, hopefully my performance will keep my name in the frame for next year.
“The Rahal outing was my first time in an IndyCar so it was a complete step into the unknown, but it also gave me a tremendous confidence boost with how well it went – I showed I could drive the car fast and received very positive feedback from the team, and I felt like I worked well in an IndyCar environment.
“That gives me a good footing to start from, and I also feel a lot more prepared returning to Sebring now as I’ll know more what to expect and will be able to treat it more like a normal test day. I’ve got a much better idea of what I’ll want from the car, I know the track well, I’m generally just a lot more sure of myself and that should all stand me in solid stead to go out there and turn it up a notch. It’s a big chance to make an impression and really spark some interest.”
The highly-rated Cullingworth native already carries backing from Sparco USA, Exa Networks, Core Pilates, Arai Helmets and Nicholas Jones, but he knows he needs to raise further support if he is to make his dream come true next year – and despite having elicited overtures from a number of would-be suitors on both sides of the Pond, he is very clear about what he calls his ‘Plan A’.
“IndyCar is unquestionably the main goal,” Hawksworth insists. “Apart from my first season in Formula Renault UK, my entire car racing career to-date has been spent in the States and it would be a shame not to continue my upward trajectory there. I love the American style of racing and the IndyCar Series is in a good place at the moment, so now it’s up to me to go into this test and try to make a bit of an impact to ensure I’m on the starting grid in 2014.”