News & Multimedia

Indy 500 Rookie Report: Jack Hawksworth

Jack Hawksworth says he was duly impressed on his initial visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2011 for a Mazda Road to Indy test on the road course.

“I remember turning up and thinking, ‘Bloody hell, this place is big.’ The size of the facility and the grandstands, especially when there’s nobody in them, is just impressive,” said the native of Bradford, England, who was 20 years old at the time for the Star Mazda test.

His perspective of the iconic 2.5-mile oval was dramatically altered May 5, when he participated in the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program.

“When you’re doing 220 mph the place seems small,” Hawksworth added. “When you get out there, suddenly the track is a lot narrower and you’re flat out coming off Turn 4 and Turn 1 looks a lot tighter than when you’re looking at it from the grandstands or on TV. It’s much trickier; you see that they are real corners. Turn 1 looks like a hairpin the first time you come up on it.”

Hawksworth, who has logged 89 total laps in practice for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in the No. 98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian entry, handled the upgrade flawlessly until midway through the shortened session May 14 when the car made contact with the Turn 3 SAFER Barrier in the first incident of the month. He was checked and cleared to drive.

Hawksworth, with a best lap of 224.000 mph (40.1786 seconds) is confident the repaired car will contend for the Verizon P1 Award in qualifying for the first oval race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. He qualified on the outside of the front row for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis and has recorded two other top-10 starts in the four races.

He led a field-high 31 of the 82-lap race May 10 on the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in finishing a season-high seventh.

“Our race pace is a bigger confidence boost for us we continue to chip away and get quicker for the rest of the season,” said Hawksworth, the 2012 Star Mazda champion who placed fourth in the 2013 Indy Lights championship with three victories. “Leading the race, that’s when I feel most comfortable as a driver. The car was just working fantastically and felt pretty easy out front.

“Every single race I’m learning about how the races develop. It’s not like a sprint race where you qualify on pole you probably win the race. You never know who’s going to win until the last stop. I’m beginning to get my head around that and hopefully as I do and the team improves overall we’ll exploit the opportunities.”

The opportunity to drive for the team co-owned by former Indy car driver Bryan Herta and Steve Newey arose from a test Feb. 17 at Sebring International Raceway. Hawksworth had already auditioned with Dale Coyne Racing and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and was making contingency plans to explore being a personal trainer if a full-season Verizon IndyCar Series ride didn’t materialize.

“It was a realistic plan; I didn’t think I was going to be in INDYCAR this year,” he said. “The people around me thought there was more of a shot than I did. I had been doing a bit of karting but nothing really developed on the IndyCar side and I wasn’t going to do Lights again because there really weren’t any options there. I didn’t want to sit all year, so I had a realistic plan to focus on something else and not be bitter if it didn’t work out.”

So far, it’s worked out well.

“I want to win and I think we have a great opportunity to build on what we’ve done from the beginning of the year so I’m really happy,” Hawksworth said. “I’ve been blessed to have this opportunity; it was unexpected.”
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Indy 500 Rookie Report: Jack Hawksworth
 
Indy 500 Rookie Report: Jack Hawksworth
Jack Hawksworth says he was duly impressed on his initial visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2011 for a Mazda Road to Indy test on the road course.
Read More
Related Media
Indianapolis 500 Pace Car
 
2019 Corvette ZR1 To Pace 102nd Indianapolis 500
The 2019 Corvette ZR1 is the official Pace Car for the 2018 Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil and will lead drivers to the green flag Sunday, May 27 for the 102nd Running of the legendary race.
Read More
Sam Hanks, 1957 Indianapolis 500
 
Memory Lane: Sam Hanks, 1957
The 1957 Indianapolis 500 featured a perfect marriage of a car and driver that needed someone to believe in them.
Read More
Max Chilton
 
Leading Opens Chilton's Eyes to New Obsession with Indianapolis 500
Like many drivers who weren’t born in America, Max Chilton admits he didn’t quite get the Indianapolis 500 during his rookie year in 2016.
Read More
500 Forward
 
500 Forward Returns To Celebrate The Month of May in Indy through Community Initiatives Including Art, Fashion
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is continuing a collaborative community effort, 500 Forward, to celebrate the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil and the Month of May.
Read More
Fittipaldi
 
Rookie Fittipaldi Excited to Continue Family Legacy of Success at Indianapolis
There’s one name among the rookies assigned to cars for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil that stands out for race fans even though that driver has just one career Verizon IndyCar Series start.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,617
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact IMS Sales Department at (317) 492-8739 or email at hospitalitysales@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21