As the GT Cup hit Rockingham, Esmee Hawkey raced onto the podium and into the lead of the GTA championship.
Along with team-mate James Birch, 18-year old Esmee put on a superb performance during the three races at the Northamptonshire circuit, despite being in the middle of her A-Level exams. She arrived at the circuit on Saturday having completed two exams the day before and used her time whilst not in the car to continue her revision.
‘It’s been hard trying to fit my studies in around my racing,” said Esmee. “This weekend I’ve been having to get a maths book out and study up when I’m not in the car. It takes your focus away a little so you can’t get in the zone. You’re in one place or the other so it’s quite tough.”
Her studies clearly proved only a minor distraction however and when she got behind the wheel of her Porsche Centre Tonbridge sponsored Cayman, her only focus was driving. During Saturday's qualifying round she put the car fourth behind the faster Ginetta G55s. Esmee’s Cayman GT4 Clubsport is still running in ‘launch spec’ as the car awaits its upgrade package, scheduled for August.
In race one team mate James was able to fight his way up to second place, just pipping championship leader Ian Anderson and earning valuable championship points. Esmee took over driving duties for race two and did very well to avoid a first lap incident. She expertly picked her path through the spinning cars, that included rival Ian Anderson, to find herself in the lead of the group. The race was then red flagged to recover the wheel-less car of Anderson as well as rival Dan O’Brien and the GTC group Porsche of Ross McEwen. Once the race restarted Esmee led the group for the majority of the race despite constant pressure from Brent Millage. With two laps to go Esmee made a small mistake, which allowed Brent through to snatch victory from her.
“Unfortunately there was a bit of chaos in the second sprint race but luckily I managed to avoid the carnage and kept it clean. Two of the Ginetta’s were involved in the accident and there was a lot of damage to the Jazzy car. I had a good fight with Brent in the other Ginetta, which was really good. Unfortunately I made one mistake going through pifpaf and it was just enough for him to get by me, otherwise we would have won. You learn from your mistakes though and it was really good fun racing.”
For Sunday’s pit stop race Esmee qualified third in the GTA group and raced hard in the 50-minute duration race. James started and completed the first stint before handing the car over to Esmee to bring it home in third place for another podium. The result moves Esmee and James into the lead of the GT group with a 19-point advantage.
“We had two second places on Saturday and third place in the pit stop race, so three trophies is a good achievement and has given us a great advantage on points in the championship. I’m really looking to Oulton Park. I think the car is going to be quick around there. I’m really optimistic going in and hopefully we’ll get that one step closer and get the win.”
The next race for Esmee will be at Oulton Park on the 23 July. Follow her on Twitter to stay up to date with her progress.
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