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.”

Three in position to capture World Rally Championship title at Rally Australia

Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Defending champion Sebastien Ogier goes into this weekend’s Rally Australia with a chance to clinch his sixth World Rally Championship in a row. Thierry Neuville, a runner-up four times but never a champion, hopes to change the world order.

Neuville led the series for much of the season but Ogier’s win in Britain and a second place in Spain has given the Frenchman 204 points, three ahead of Neuville, heading into the final rally of the championship.

“We are not the best friends but we are rivals and respect each other for our performances,” Neuville said Wednesday. “I’ve been second many times in the championship now, we are so close to the main goal.”

“If we need to take more risks because we need to pass Sebastien we’re going to try,” the Belgian driver added, “we’ll take the maximum risks.”

Ogier says the feeling is mutual when it comes to his main rival.

“We are different, definitely, but most important we’re in a great fight together and respect each other for that,” Ogier said. “It’s about trying to beat each other and do it with respect.”

Ott Tanak of Estonia sits 23 points behind and with 30 points for a win in Australia, and other results going his way, he could also capture the world title.

Ogier will be hoping for some Friday morning rain to settle the dust and gravel before he sets off first on what will be more than 300 kilometers (180 miles) of timed racing through forests on the New South Wales state’s north coast, about 530 kilometers (325 miles) north of Sydney.

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