IndyCar: Jack Hawksworth ready to go full-throttle for Foyt

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For several years, A.J. Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato has espoused the philosophy of “No Attack, No Chance.”

So it’s fitting that his new teammate, second-year pilot Jack Hawksworth, shares that same philosophy.

“That’s what we’re in it for, right? We’re in it to win,” Hawksworth said today after it was announced that he’d join the Foyt camp as a second full-time driver for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

“Takuma is going to go flat out and try and win, and so am I. That’s what the whole team’s here to do. We’re here to win, to give 120%. If on the day, that’s enough, fantastic. If not, we’ll keep trying. I think that’s the only way to go racing really.”

With a pair of gassers like Sato and Hawksworth, there’s the potential for fireworks in both a good and a bad way.

But A.J., the four-time Indianapolis 500 champion that’s set to field his first (full-time) two-car lineup in more than a decade, only has a few directives for his new duo.

“The way I look at racing, if you can’t have a lot of fun in racing, you shouldn’t be in it,” he said. “I still look at it – you always want to win but you also have a lot of fun. That’s the way I look at a two-car team.

“I want them to run each other as hard as they can, but don’t take each other out. There will be a day when one of them will be a little better than the other one, and that’s why they call it racing.”

Hawksworth is coming off a freshman season in which he put on several impressive displays driving the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport entry.

Chief among them was a podium during Race 2 of the Houston doubleheader, in which he charged from 23rd on the starting grid to a third-place finish. He was also particularly stout in the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, leading 31 laps from the front row before finishing seventh.

Now, in year two, Hawksworth gets to have an opportunity to pair up with Sato, who of course carries extensive experience and can be of great assistance in the young Brit’s evolution as an IndyCar driver.

“Jack and I [weren’t] necessarily racing together in ’14, but we get on really close on track, off track as well,” Sato said. “I’m really, really looking forward to working with him. That’s a perfect combination for the team I think.”

Just as important for Hawksworth, he’ll have the chance to enjoy more resources than he was able to with the single-car BHA group.

“We’re going to get twice as much telemetry, twice as much data than if it was a single-car team,” he said. “I only see good things from it…The thing at the moment, with these race weekends, the ovals, the street and road courses, there’s so little practice time. If you have two cars out there running, you can try different things, different approaches in the practice sessions.

“Hopefully at the end of the day, you put all of that together from both cars, then you take a significant step forward.”

Also in Hawksworth’s corner will be chief engineer Raul Prados, who worked his way through various European series including GP2 before joining the Foyt camp in 2012.

In 2013, Prados started working full-time under Sato’s engineer, Don Halliday, and this past season, he became a chief engineer himself on the No. 41 Foyt entry for Martin Plowman in the GP of Indy and the Indianapolis 500.

“We’ve been in contact,” Hawksworth said of the Spaniard. “It’s early days. But it was quite clear immediately we had a good chemistry, a good connection.

“I think once we get testing and he’s able to, I guess, understand what I want from the car, hopefully I can give him the right information. Hopefully, once we get into the season, we’re all singing off the same hymn sheet and we can go kick some ass.”

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”