Hawksworth hopes his Sebring test “turned a few heads”

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Indy Lights driver Jack Hawksworth was eyeing last week’s IndyCar testing at Sebring International Raceway as an opportunity to bolster his chances of earning a drive in the 2014 IndyCar Series championship. He may have done just that.

Hawksworth ran with Honda-powered Dale Coyne Racing during the sessions and looked sharp, reportedly posting the second-fastest time among those running a 2013-spec single-turbo engine. According to DCR engineer John Dick, the young Englishman logged 89 laps around the Sebring short course.

“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,” Dick said before declaring that Hawksworth was as good as “any of the current Top-5 championship drivers” in regards to getting the most out of a given set-up.

“In conclusion, he would be a valuable asset to Dale Coyne Racing,” he said.

That had to be music to Hawksworth’s ears after he did what he could to impress the paddock in the final tests of 2013. Drawing upon lessons learned from his first IndyCar test with Rahal Letterman Lanigan this past fall, he felt he was able to get into a rhythm with the car much more quickly.

“Hopefully, my performance turned a few heads and made people sit up and take note,” he said. “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.”

Hawksworth won at St. Petersburg, Toronto and Baltimore this past season in Lights before finishing fourth in the series championship for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Photo Credit: John Hendrick/INDYCAR

Marco Andretti to drive throwback scheme to honor 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario’s last win

Photo courtesy Andretti-Herta Autosport
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Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).

So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.

Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.

“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.

“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”

The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.

Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.

Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago:

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