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.”