Hawksworth 'honoured' as BRDC promotes him from Rising Star to SuperStar|
As he bids to make it back-to-back crowns across the other side of the Atlantic this year, Jack Hawksworth has received a timely pre-season boost with the venerable British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) elevating him within its ranks from the status of Rising Star to SuperStar.
Having tasted winner's champagne during the course of his maiden campaign of car racing competition in Formula Renault UK in 2011, Hawksworth boldly directed his burgeoning single-seater career stateside in 2012 - and the US rookie promptly swept all before him as he stormed to the fiercely-contested Star Mazda Championship laurels with Team Pelfrey, tallying a remarkable eight victories, 12 podium finishes, ten pole positions and 11 fastest laps from 16 starts.
This year, the gifted Bradford-born speed demon is shifting things up another gear and will compete for multiple title-winning outfit Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship, just one step down the ladder from his ultimate goal of the IZOD IndyCar Series and the legendary Indianapolis 500.
After picking up the coveted Henry Surtees Trophy at the end of last year and progressing to the final six in the hard-fought BRDC McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award shoot-out, Hawksworth's promotion to the distinguished standing of BRDC SuperStar is the latest in a succession of high-profile accolades to be bestowed upon the 22-year-old Cullingworth native.
He will moreover benefit in 2013 from scholarship funding from the 'Mazda Road to Indy' and backing from Sparco USA, Exa Networks, Core Pilates, Arai Helmets and Nicholas Jones.
"The BRDC SuperStars programme is a very prestigious and exclusive club into which only a select few are invited each year, so it's a tremendous honour to be chosen to be a part of it," Hawksworth enthused. "I feel extremely proud to have been recognised in this way for my achievements in 2012. The BRDC is such a major player in this sport, and everybody has made me feel genuinely welcome.
"Being appointed a SuperStar is a real vindication of what I've been able to accomplish in single-seaters in just a couple of seasons. It's brilliant to know the BRDC appreciate what I'm doing and regard me as a driver to keep tabs on over the coming years - and that can only be positive for my reputation both in the States and in Europe."
The brainchild of the club's former president, 1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill, SuperStars is a focussed and dedicated driver development programme that is unique in its field. Just 15 competitors are eligible for the blue riband scheme each year, all receiving 24-hour support and tuition from the BRDC's senior members, who between them boast a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise of every aspect within the sport.
With a stated objective of nurturing and getting the very best out of Britain's future motorsport heroes, the SuperStars structure offers invaluable assistance in terms of physical training and preparation, mental coaching, career guidance workshops and media and sponsorship advice - not to mention state-of-the-art resources and money-can't-buy networking opportunities.
"The benefits of the SuperStars initiative are clearly not lost on young drivers, as every year there are simply not enough places for everyone who would like to be involved," remarked BRDC SuperStars director, 1992 British Touring Car Champion Tim Harvey. "In the five years SuperStars has been operating, I can honestly say it has made a difference in some way to each and every driver.
"Jack had a superb debut season in the USA last year, winning the Star Mazda series convincingly. He has also been a BRDC McLaren Autosport Award finalist, so his talents are well-known to the club. Through the SuperStars programme, we hope to be able to assist Jack with another successful year in 2013."
Report by Russell Atkins