Jack Hawksworth has signed up with Mark Burdett Motorsport for the 2011 Formula Renault UK Championship, after their successful partnership in the 2010 Winter Cup. The Bradford youngster shocked rivals with his performances in the six round series, taking four pole positions and two podium finishes on his way to third in the championship.
After his success in his debut car racing campaign, it was widely predicted he would re-sign with the team ahead of his first full racing season. One of the main selling points of the team for Hawksworth, was his relationship with race engineer Andy Miller:
“To be able to work closely with someone who has such vast experience in the sport and is so knowledgeable in his field as Andy gives me an advantage over the other drivers, I feel,” he affirmed. “The driver/engineer relationship is probably the most important one there is – you need to have respect for each other's ability. I trust that Andy will give me the best car possible, and he needs to believe I'm capable of getting the maximum out of it.”
“It's the same thing with the team's driver coach, Robbie Kerr; he and Andy have both proved themselves at an extremely high level, and to be able to learn from them is a huge benefit for me. Everyone works really well together, and there's a really good atmosphere and bond inside the team. Everybody shares the same goal of wanting to win and gives 120 per cent – I really can't see why I would want to be anywhere else!”
The team will produce a two car squad for 2011; with Jack believing this will help him gain more attention than he would in teams with a larger operation. The youngster has been out testing as much as possible in recent weeks:
“The Winter Series gave me a real foothold in the car racing business,” he said. “It was good to pick up the experience and work with Mark's team so that we don't go into next season blind as it were. The testing since then has been really beneficial, too, and has done me the world of good. I needed the extra mileage without the pressure of having to be fast at the same time – rather than chasing lap times, I've been able to concentrate on getting more used to the car.
“During the Winter Series, since we'd had only very limited testing beforehand, I never really felt fully comfortable; it was still all a bit alien to me, whereas every time I get in the car now, I feel increasingly comfortable. I'm starting to get the same feeling that I used to have in karting, being able to just jump in and it feels normal. I'm a lot stronger now than I was in the Winter Series.”
“Over the winter, I will be concentrating on my fitness and on finding more sponsorship, and then the plan is to get as much testing in as possible in the New Year to really hit the ground running when the season starts at Brands Hatch. In motorsport, there are so many variables that you can never be 100 per cent sure about anything, of course, but we will have prepared as much as we can do, and after that the rest of it will come down to other things.”
Hawksworth is certainly aiming high for 2011, with the championship title in his sights:
“It will obviously be tough because this category is the breeding ground to go on to higher levels, but I think I'm in the best team I can be and that we will be better-prepared than anyone else, so I'm feeling pretty confident. I've only got one goal now, and that's to win as many races as possible – and in doing that, win the championship.”