Cullingworth motor racing whizz kid Jack Hawksworth has landed a dream ride in the 2014 IndyCar Series.
Hawksworth has signed a contract to drive the No 98 Honda-powered Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) car in the world famous series, which is the top level of American car racing.
The Yorkshireman, who turned 23 only days before putting pen to paper, said the news still hasn’t sunk in.
“It’s just unbelievable and it still doesn’t feel quite real – it’s been an incredible journey,” said Hawksworth.
“This is where everything gets serious but I’m convinced the BHA guys will give me a great car and I can’t wait to get going.
“This is what I’ve been working so hard towards ever since I moved to America at the end of 2011. Not many people get this kind of shot at chasing their dream and really making it happen, and I’m absolutely delighted.”
Hawksworth took the States by storm in 2012 when he sped to the fiercely-contested Star Mazda Championship crown at the end of a record-breaking rookie campaign across the other side of the Atlantic.
He added to that with three race victories, six podium finishes and a title tilt one step further up the ‘Mazda Road to Indy’ ladder in Firestone Indy Lights last year, and his eye-catching performances brought the gifted young Bradford-born ace to the attention of a number of leading IndyCar teams.
After turning many a head with his form and composure during a couple of winter test outings, Hawksworth took to the wheel of BHA’s 650bhp Dallara single-seater at Sebring International Raceway in Florida last month.
Impressing with his mature approach and turn of speed, he could only hope that he had done enough to ensure the team felt he was the right man for the drive.
Former IndyCar race-winner Bryan Herta, BHA’s founder and co-owner, acknowledged the magnitude of Hawksworth’s achievement in climbing to the top of the ‘Mazda Road to Indy’ staircase, forecasting great things from his new charge.
“Quite frankly, Jack really impressed us with a very strong test in Sebring last month,” said Herta. “He has had success at every level he has competed in to date and we believe he has the skills to maintain that going into the IndyCar Series. Jack is well aware of the level of competition he is stepping into.”
Indiana-based BHA has established itself as a competitive team since it entered the fray in 2009, tallying a notable triumph in the iconic Indianapolis 500 with Dan Wheldon three years ago.
Hawksworth’s new IndyCar challenge will rev into life at St Petersburg in Florida at the end of March, kick-starting an intensive five-month schedule of flat-out competition – all of which will be broadcast in his native UK on BT Sport.