Hawkey ends on a high
Hawkey ends on a high

Esmee Hawkey signed off her debut season in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB with a double-points finish around her home circuit, the legendary Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.
With the youngster hosting guests from partners; Prestige Car Hire, Porsche South London, M&A and Popsa over the course of the weekend, it was imperative that she put on a good show at her home track. Things started well in Friday’s free practice sessions with Esmee declaring herself happy with the progress the team made throughout the day, putting her in a good position for Saturday’s qualifying session.

Two solid qualifying runs saw her go fourth fastest in the ProAm class on the first run, and one better on her second set of tyres in the closing minutes of the session. With Rival Dan Vaughn being disqualified from the session for not having enough fuel in his tank for the mandatory inspections, Esmee was promoted to second on the class grid.

Come Sunday and a huge crowd of nearly 45,000 people assembled to see the final races of the 2018 season and the Carrera Cup GB did not disappoint. Unfortunately Esmee was not as quick off the line as she hoped and dropped back to fourth place but was quickly up to speed and challenging her rivals. Despite the fast, flowing nature of the historic Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, it is a difficult circuit to overtake on so Esmee had to settle for fourth.

Determined not to have a repeat of race one Esmee hooked the car up at the start and got a lightning getaway. She was firmly in the mix into turn one but had to take avoiding action when pole-sitter Michael Caine lost control of his car through Paddock Hill bend. She kept her head however and stole third place from Jamie Orton into Druids.

With Seb Perez spinning off on the exit of the corner she found herself in second place and just behind the leader. A near race-long battle ensued for the lead but, entering Surtees, the Porsche Centre South London car received a tap on the inside from Orton, sending Esmee into a spin and down to fifth place. She rejoined and reclaimed fourth place when Orton retired but was unable to make any further progress before the chequered flag fell.

The results capped a solid debut season for the 19-year old to finish fifth in the ProAm standings and a fourth in the Rookie championship, but the highlight of the year will have to be starting from pole position at the theatre of speed, Monza, back in May.

“Due to work commitments I was not able to test in the days before but I have to say a big thanks the PFZero simulators because I was able to practice pretty much every day on my sim at home which really helped.

“Friday went well. We struggled as bit with pace in the first practice session, but it was all about improving the setup on the car. For the second session we made some changes to see if we could go a bit quicker on fresher tyres. We were pretty happy with the performance and we could see some improvements we could make for qualifying.

“On the first qualifying run we only managed to go P4 in class which we weren’t too please with. We needed to make a bit of a change on the car and then put the new boots on and managed to put in a time that was third on the grid. But that became second when Dan Vaughn was disqualified. I think it was my best qualifying of the year.

“I didn’t have the best of starts to race one and fell back to fourth. We knew we had the pace in the car, so we were pushing but it’s a tough circuit to overtake on the GP. I set the fastest lap of the race and even with that we still weren’t able to overtake. Race two was the opposite and I got a really good start. There was a spin at turn one, so we had to avoid that and then I made a move on Orton at Druids to take third place. Perez had a spin exiting so we were up into second and looking good. I gained on Collingborne and we were fighting for the lead for the entire race. It was a really enjoyable race but unfortunately I was taken out by Orton with three laps to go so we didn’t get the podium we deserved. Overall, I was really happy with the whole weekend, I was happy with the pace and I’m looking forward to next year.”