Hawkey Excited for Maiden BTCC Test
Esmee Hawkey says she is excited to get behind the wheel of a BTCC car for the first time, in the Goodyear tyre test at Snetterton in her role as Official Development Driver for MB Motorsport.A standout year in 2019 saw her claim three wins and seven further podium finishes on her way to third place in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Pro-Am class as well as making her single-seater debut in W Series - the all-female racing championship - all at just 21 years of age.This year Esmee combines her Carrera Cup GB commitments with her role as MB Motorsport’s official development driver - and the Kent-based youngster is looking forward to taking charge of BTCC machinery for the very first time at the two-day Snetterton test this week.“I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the Honda Civic Type R,” Esmee said. “It’ll be my first time in a FWD car so there’s a lot of learning to do but I’m up for the challenge and look forward to working with the team and broadening my experiences.“It’s been a strange year with everything that’s happened so it’s great to finally get back out on track, although I didn’t think my first running since March would be in a touring car! It is going to be a very busy second half of the year but I can’t wait to get it underway!”When talking about the opportunity and the chance to experience as much as possible, Esmee is proactive and forward-thinking in her approach.“I love racing, regardless of what I’m driving. If the chance to drive something presents itself then I’ll jump at it. As a driver, it’s important for me to experience as much as I possibly can, whether it was early in my career in karting or more recently. Every new experience you get behind the wheel helps you grow as a driver and that is exactly what I am looking to do.”
Esmee’s racing career can be traced back to a will to buck the trend and a family-wide love for all things motorsport.“When I was young, I enjoyed things like dancing but there was something I enjoyed more,” Esmee explained. “Watching my dad race got me hooked and I very quickly caught the bug.”After getting a go-kart for her eighth birthday, the dream was very much alive and Esmee began to rise through the ranks of the national karting scene, supported by her racer father Dean.
The natural progression for most drivers from karting is to advance to the Ginetta Junior series, a step-up that Esmee made with ease. A year and a half of cutting her teeth in tin-top racing proved invaluable as she moved up to sports car racing and became vice-champion in her debut year in the Porsche Cayman GT4 championship.Unfortunately, her efforts in her following season in 2017 were curtailed by a heavy accident in testing at Brands Hatch. The crash left her with a broken leg and meant she was resigned to the sidelines for much of the year.“The accident was difficult,” Esmee said. “Having to take a year out to recover was tough but it only fuelled my desire to come back even more. I knew I had a lot more to achieve and I certainly wasn’t done yet.”In testament to her remarkable resolve and determination, Esmee climbed back into the car for a one-off race at Donington Park at the end of that year. Not only did she complete the race, she won it.“That was such a high - not only to be back in the car and racing but to win as well! It was a great confidence boost to know I hadn’t lost it through the lay-off and it gave me a huge amount of momentum as we headed into the next year.”
Establishing herself as one of Britain’s leading female drivers, Esmee remains the only female driver in Carrera Cup GB in 2020 yet is very level-headed in terms of the role she has to play for aspiring young female drivers“Growing up I was inspired by the stories of women like Lella Lombardi and I was determined to go racing myself. I don’t think about that myself that much really - I just think that every young person should be able to look up to people and have the opportunity to pursue whatever it is they want to do. I am grateful for the opportunities to be able to continue chasing my dream and if that helps show others that it is possible - then even better.“The idea of being the only female racer on a grid has never phased me. I’ve never felt out of place by it or like I don’t belong. We’re all one big family, we all look out for each other and we all have a place here regardless of what you look like or where you come from.”As she continues to forge a reputation for herself through her impressive results on-track, her affiliation with MB Motorsport this year is about much more than driver development.“To work with the team, the management and the drivers at MB Motorsport is great for me and the chance to get behind the wheel and to gain a new experience is going to be fantastic. But more than that, I want to get to the highest level possible in my career and understanding the operations of a team in the UK’s highest-profile championship and to work with them to grow myself as a racing driver off-the-track is equally as important as the results you can deliver on it.“Tuesday at Snetterton will be about me surrounding myself in the team operation, working with the engineering team and the drivers across the day to get the best feel for it that I can. Then Wednesday will be my turn to get behind the wheel and to gain my first BTCC experience but my first FWD experience as well!”