Indy Lights Title Contender Hawksworth Made An Impressive Debut at Today’s Indy Car Test with RLL at Sebring

SEBRING, Fla. (September 17, 2013) – Fire­stone Indy Lights rookie and title contender Jack Hawksworth, 22, got his first laps in an Indy car today at the 1.65-mile Sebring Inter­na­tional Raceway short course and was as impressed with the Dallara-Honda-Firestone IndyCar Series racing package as the team was with him. He completed 123 laps and set a best lap time that was compa­rable to others who were also testing.

It was great, it was fantastic just to get into an Indy car for the first time,” said Hawksworth.  “Just to get to drive one is like a dream come true.  I really enjoyed the first session and enjoyed how much down­force the car had and how much you can attack with this car because it’s just got so much grip you can really be aggres­sive with it. You can push really, really hard and get down to the limit with it which was really fun.”

Hawksworth, a native of Brad­ford, York­shire, UK, earned his third Fire­stone Indy Lights win of the season from pole in Balti­more and is only 11 points from the cham­pi­onship lead with two races remaining. He stands fourth in series stand­ings after three wins, six top-three finishes and two poles in 10 events to date. Hawksworth came to Indy Lights in 2013 as the reigning Star Mazda cham­pion after having broken every record previ­ously set in that cham­pi­onship since its incep­tion over 22 years ago.  He won in his Indy Lights debut at St. Peters­burg this season and led every lap en route to victo­ries in Toronto and Balti­more. He leads the series in laps led at 168. He was impressed with the differ­ence between the Indy Lights car and the IndyCar Series machine.

There is a huge differ­ence from driving the Indy Lights car,” added Hawksworth. “The Indy car is a lot more modern and you have a lot more to think about in the car. There are a lot more knobs on the steering wheel and what not. It’s a lot like step­ping into the future, driving an Indy car compared to the Indy Lights car. It’s got a lot more grip, a lot more down­force and a bit more power.  It’s just a bigger, faster car and it’s always fun when you jump into some­thing that is a step up. And it certainly was that.”

I tested here in Star Mazda and Indy Lights so I knew the track which was good. It’s a really good place to get up to speed. It’s not a very long lap but it’s got a lot of street course elements to it so it’s very rele­vant to where the guys race at so. It was a very produc­tive day for myself and the team as well.”

Eddie Jones, who is the race engi­neer for the No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts entry driven by James Jakes, was Hawksworth’s engi­neer today and was suit­ably impressed with his fellow Englishman.

Jack was very impres­sive,” said Jones. “He has a great atti­tude and focus. From the first outing it was quite clear that he is very capable. He had a very intel­li­gent approach to the whole test and gave very good feed­back. We made some good changes to the car that we were inter­ested in as a team and his feed­back was accu­rate, it compared well to the data and he was fast. There is no doubt he has all the ingre­di­ents to be a very good driver at this level.”

I would love to race in IndyCar, that’s for sure,” concluded Hawksworth. “This has increased my desire to race at this level because I think I can do a good job. I would like to race one of these cars one day. That’s some­thing to look at after I finish my Indy Lights season. I just want to say a very big thank you to every­body at Rahal Letterman Lanigan, Honda and Fire­stone, Holman Wilfley and all of the people involved in my career that made this oppor­tu­nity happen. It was a fantastic expe­ri­ence and some­thing I will remember for sure.”

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About Jack Hawksworth

Since begin­ning his motor racing career in karting back in 2004, Jack quickly estab­lished himself as a leading talent in grass-roots motor­sport, winning several titles and major events, including a junior Euro­pean karting crown. In 2010, Jack grad­u­ated into single-seater racing as the number one British driver in KZ1 karting and obtained instant success; claiming pole posi­tion in his first ever single-seater car race – a feat never achieved before in the history of the Formula Renault UK Winter Series. In 2011, he earned one win, one pole, four podiums and set the fastest lap three times in Formula Renault UK. He progressed to Star Mazda in 2012 where he broke every record on his way to being crowned cham­pion on the strength of eight wins, 11 poles and setting the fastest race lap 11 times.  Jack moved to the Fire­stone Indy Lights Series in 2013 where he has earned three wins, two poles and has led the most laps at 168 after 10 of 12 races this season. He is ranked fourth in the point stand­ings with 362, only 11 out of first place with two races to go.

About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Browns­burg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time IndyCar Cham­pion and 1986 Indi­anapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan.  The team is in the midst of their 22nd year of compe­ti­tion and is attempting to add to their 30 wins (20 – IndyCar, 10-ALMS) – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice — their 42 poles (29 – IndyCar, 13 – ALMS) and three series cham­pi­onship (1992 – IndyCar, 2010 and 2011 – ALMS).

- RLL -