Less than a month after being crowned 2012 Star Mazda champion in his first season, Cullingworth’s Jack Hawksworth has been selected as a finalist for the coveted McLaren Autosport British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Young Driver of the Year award.
Hawksworth wrapped up the Star Mazda laurels for Team Pelfrey with one of his finest victories of a record-breaking rookie season at Laguna Seca early last month.
As a result, the talented former Parkside School pupil has been lined up as a candidate for an award won by illustrious names such as Jenson Button and David Coulthard in the past.
Hawksworth will compete in a six-driver shoot-out at Silverstone next month, where he and his fellow finalists will be pitched against one another in the sport’s three principal disciplines – single-seaters, tin-tops and endurance.
While out-and-out raw pace will be a key criterion in order to prevail, the successful candidate will also need to demonstrate an aptitude for consistency and feedback, a strong mental approach, excellent presentation and media skills and tip-top physical fitness.
Drivers will be assessed by a panel of expert judges, including former grand prix star and current BRDC president Derek Warwick, and Hawksworth is determined to prove he is the complete all-round package.
The 21-year-old said: “I was delighted when I received the phone call =- absolutely over-the-moon.
“It’s brilliant. Just to be given the chance to drive cars like that round Silverstone is something pretty special in itself – and one that very few people ever get.
“I’ve not driven any of the three cars before and I’ve never driven any racecar with a roof on it, so that will certainly be a different kind of challenge, but it will be really interesting to see what they’re like. They all look awesome pieces of machinery.
“If you’re competing in single-seaters – be it in Britain, Europe or the USA – this award is the one thing every young British driver dreams of being part of. I just want to enjoy it and give it my very best shot.”
The winner will be revealed at the glittering Autosport Awards ceremony in London at the beginning of December, and will receive £100,000, a McLaren-Mercedes F1 test and full BRDC membership.
Previous recipients of the accolade include four-time IndyCar Champion Dario Franchitti – in whose illustrious wheeltracks Hawksworth is bidding to follow – 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button, 13-time grand prix-winner David Coulthard and Indy Lights race-winner Stefan Wilson.