Jack Hawksworth proved himself to be 'as good as any of the current top five championship drivers' after completing an impressive IndyCar test with the Dale Coyne Racing team prior to Christmas at Sebring, with the young Briton hoping to secure a place on the grid for the 2014 season.
Having stormed to the Star Mazda Championship crown in 2012, Hawksworth continued to shine in 2013, tallying a hat-trick of triumphs, a brace of pole positions and six podium finishes for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports en route to fourth position in the Firestone Indy Lights series.
Hawksworth made an impressive IndyCar testing debut for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at Sebring in September and he returned to the notoriously bumpy and abrasive, 1.65-mile former airfield fired-up to put that experience to good effect in last month's Honda manufacturer test.
With seven teams in attendance, Hawksworth raised more than a few eyebrows behind the wheel of Dale Coyne Racing's 650bhp Dallara single-seater, lapping second-fastest amongst those drivers running the 2013-spec engine and posting a best time just 0.14secs down on 2012 title winner Ryan Hunter-Reay
“Jack ran a total of 89 laps around Sebring and continued to improve on his times,” race engineer John Dick said. “ At the end of the day, he was second-quickest of the single-turbo cars. That was quite impressive, considering the only single-turbo car in front of him was on its third day of testing with factory support.
“Jack's feedback was also impressive given his relative inexperience with an IndyCar and almost no history with this particular team's chassis set-up. I found it quite easy to understand his evaluations and requests for balance changes, and I would judge his ability to extract the most out of a given set-up to be as good as any of the current top five championship drivers.
“In conclusion, he would be a valuable asset to Dale Coyne Racing.”
“Having driven an IndyCar around Sebring before, I had a better idea of what it would feel like this time and was able to jump in and get onto the pace more quickly,” he said. “We settled into a strong rhythm and turned in some really fast and consistent laps – and the team seemed pleased with my progress, which is always encouraging.
“I really enjoyed working with Dale Coyne Racing. I immediately established a good rapport with my engineer, John, and I got on well with all the guys in the team. They're a great bunch of lads and they have an excellent understanding of the car; every change we made was a constructive one, which meant we were able to get into 'the window' pretty rapidly.
“Hopefully my performance turned a few heads and made people sit up and take note. There are six weeks before official pre-season testing begins, so it's up to us to try and make something happen between now and then to secure a place on the 2014 IndyCar starting grid. That's the goal, and we're working absolutely flat-out to achieve it.”