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Hawksworth Signs ‘Dream’ SSM Indy Lights Deal

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Jack Hawksworth is targeting ‘another great year’ in the United States after announcing a deal to compete for Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) in the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights Championship.

Former Formula Renault UK racer Hawksworth secured the Star Mazda Championship this season in his first season racing in the US, making him one of the hottest properties in US open-wheel racing heading into the winter break. After an impressive testing outing at Sebring in Florida, Hawksworth has signed a deal with multiple Indy Lights champions SSM as he looks to make it back-to-back rookie crowns.

“I am delighted to be joining a team with such pedigree and hunger to add to their ever-growing list of achievements,” enthused Hawksworth, who will carry branding and financial support from Mazda next year in recognition of his Star Mazda glory. “The team’s success speaks for itself. This is the dream ride in Indy Lights – everyone in the series wants to drive for Sam Schmidt, and I am over-the-moon to be able to do so.

“The results prove that the team takes Indy Lights extremely seriously and professionally – as much as its IndyCar Series programme. Sam has a lot of good guys working for him, and one of the reasons that drew me to the team was the people and their abilities. SSM captures everything I want in a team, and I am really looking forward to working with all the guys there.

“As always, the series is going to be extremely strong; indeed, from what I have heard, 2013 is shaping up to be the strongest year Indy Lights has had for a while – a challenge that we will relish. The target will be to score as many points as possible and maximise the potential of both myself and the car. If we can do that, then I am sure we are in for another great year.”

SSM hope McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist Hawksworth, who recently picked up the prestigious Henry Surtees Award at the annual British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Awards luncheon, can follow in the footsteps of their 2012 Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier and continue their impressive record in the series, with them winning the title on no fewer than six occasions since 2004.

“I’m really pleased to have Jack join SSM in 2013,” said team owner Sam Schmidt. “I watched his progress very closely this year in Star Mazda. He did a fantastic job, especially since he had not raced in the US before and everything was unfamiliar. We’ve already tested a couple of times, and there’s a lot of raw talent there.

“It’s an honour to facilitate the ‘Mazda Road to Indy’ scholarship for the third year in a row. It has been proven to properly prepare drivers for the next level, and if the performances of the likes of Tristan Vautier and Conor Daly are any indication, Jack Hawksworth will be a Firestone Indy Lights championship contender in 2013.”

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