Hawkins to sub for Neate at Snetterton.
Jessica Hawkins will stand in for Andy Neate at the next Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship event at Snetterton in June.
Neate has awarded the opportunity to Hawkins after deciding to stand down at Snetterton due to personal reasons, although he has vowed to come back stronger at Brands Hatch.
Having debuted in the BTCC at Snetterton in 2020, Hawkins is relishing the chance to again showcase her abilities in the strong Motorbase Performance-run Ford Focus.
“Having known Andy and his family for a good few years, I received a call from him last week asking if I was available on the weekend of the next round of the BTCC," said Hawkins.
"I did not expect his response to be ‘I would quite like to sit Snetterton out, and I’d really like to put you in the car’. Obviously, he didn’t need to ask twice! Shocked and speechless at the time, I am humbled to be on the receiving end of Andy’s generosity - I’ll do my best to make the Neates and the team at Motorbase proud.
"I’m extremely excited to be making a return to the BTCC at Snetterton after my debut there in 2020.”
“Following on from what can only be described as a bitterly disappointing season opener at Thruxton, and more pertinently the aftermath that has followed I have personally taken the decision to take a short sabbatical from the BTCC at Snetterton," added Neate.
"I will take this time to regroup and remind myself of my confidence and extremely competitive pre-season testing we have demonstrated; I’m really looking forward to Brands Hatch.”
“I could not personally think of anyone more qualified, talented nor deserving of a chance than Jess Hawkins. I’ve always been a huge fan of Jess; it gave me so much joy to call her up and ask her to take my seat for Snetterton.
"Jess is a fantastic British talent and I know she has full-time BTCC aspirations too. I hope this opportunity I can give her will be the platform for her to secure a slot on the grid in the not-so-distant future.”
Motorbase team principal Pete Osborne said: “Obviously losing Andy for a round of the championship this season wasn’t part of the plan and the decision has not been taken lightly.
"We totally understand and respect Andy’s position. It has been a difficult decision to take a break and get himself in a position to fulfil his own potential, but I’m 100% certain that it’s the right one.
“I can’t think of a better replacement for Snetterton than Jessica and I admire Andy for choosing to give her the chance to show the BTCC what she can achieve. It goes without saying, we will be giving both Jessica and Andy our full support.”