IMSA: IndyCar rookie Hawksworth to make sports car debut in Brickyard GP

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Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Jack Hawksworth will be facing the unfamiliar and the familiar later this week.

The British pilot, who finished 13th and sixth for Bryan Herta Autosport in yesterday’s Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader, will make his sports car racing debut in Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Hawksworth will join Paul Gentilozzi’s RSR Racing and co-drive the No. 08 ORECA FLM09 with Chris Cumming in Prototype Challenge.

Cumming’s normal co-driver, Alex Tagliani, is serving a one-race suspension from IMSA after his involvement in a practice crash during last month’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship weekend at Watkins Glen.

The decision to bring in Hawksworth may prove very fruitful for the RSR camp.

While the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series raced at IMS in 2012 and 2013, it was done on a 2.534-mile course that was reconfigured this past winter into its current 14-turn, 2.435-mile form.

Hawksworth starred on the “new” circuit during IndyCar’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis back in May (led 31 laps, finished seventh), and Gentilozzi hopes Hawksworth’s experience will help the team.

“We looked at a number of drivers to fill this seat,” Gentilozzi explained in a release. “We knew we wanted someone with experience at the Indy road course and Jack certainly fit that requirement given his success.

“Given his record, we know he will be fast and will give us 100 percent every time he gets in the car. We are very pleased to have him with us.”

It bears noting that a second driver from May’s GP of Indy will also be taking part in Friday’s event – and in the same class as Hawksworth, no less.

Martin Plowman, who drove this year for A.J. Foyt Racing in both the GP of Indy and the Indianapolis 500, is listed to co-drive the No. 88 Prototype Challenge car for BAR1 Motorsports.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”