Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Six Quick Questions With Jack Hawksworth

If you had to pick a name that just sounds like it belongs to a British racing driver, you couldn’t go wrong with “Jack Hawksworth”. Coming from the Formula Renault 2.0 UK ranks and after topping the speed charts at the Chris Griffis Mazda Road to Indy Memorial Test, Hawksworth was signed by Team Pelfrey to contest the 2012 Star Mazda season. That also made him a prime candidate to be our next participant for Six Quick Questions. We asked Jack about Euro vs. American open wheel prospects, testing for Star Mazda, and more. Keep reading, and discover a bit more about this young driver primed to compete for next year’s Star Mazda Championship:

Jack, welcome! You managed to top the speed charts at the recent Chris Griffis Mazda Road to Indy Memorial Test, held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. What do you think of the Star Mazda formula from an open wheel driver's perspective?

JH: I've really enjoyed driving the Star Mazda car so far, it's a lot of fun and quite a challenge so you really feel as a driver you have to be on the ball when driving this car. As a category it's really appealing a mixture of street courses, ovals and road circuits as well as a fantastic prize for the champion makes the series stand out amongst others.

You're coming from a season spent in Formula Renault UK 2.0. From your point of view, what are the benefits of transitioning to the American open wheel ladder?

JH: The biggest thing is the structure (career ladder) in American open wheel. It's much easier to understand the different levels and which category you should be racing in compared to Europe where at the moment there is too many different classes and no structure. There are also some fantastic prizes and scholarships on offers which is a massive incentive to the drivers and teams.

We talk a lot about the state of the American open wheel ladder, but from someone who's recently been on the other side of things in Europe, how do the drivers see the ladder prospects over there?

JH: Like I said previously, in Europe at the moment there is just no direct structure to any of the category's and for the drivers it is difficult to know which way to go. When you compare this to the Ladder that Mazda and INDYCAR have set up you can see that they have got it right. I expect even more European drivers to head to the U.S.A in the next few years.

Are you looking forward to contesting the oval portion of the Star Mazda schedule, or are there any venues you're especially excited to try?

JH: Yes I'm really looking forward to the ovals and all the different disciplines and circuits on the calendar next year. As a driver it is a massive challenge to adapt to all these different types of circuits but that's what gives you the buzz and why we all go racing!

How much have you seen of the IZOD IndyCar Series, and do you have any favorite drivers or teams?

JH: I’ve always been a fan of INDY and like to follow the racing as much as possible. I guess my favorite drivers to watch are Will Power and Dario Franchitti. I enjoy their rivalry and I think the fact that their strengths are so different makes it all the more interesting to watch!

No one can know the future, but ideally, do you see this as a stop along the way to transition back to the European ladder, or do you think the Mazda Road to Indy will be your path?

JH: My focus is completely on progressing up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder. I have some great memories from racing in Europe but now that is all behind me and I am really excited to start a new chapter in my career and try to make my dreams of winning in INDYCAR a reality. I am in a really good place for 2012 with Team Pelfrey, and I believe I have the ability and mindset to get to where I want to be. American open wheel racing is my future, focus and hopefully destiny. Indianapolis is the home of motorsport and so where better place to race than there?!

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