Esmee Hawkey gears up for second DTM campaign
Updated: May 2
"I'm under no illusion of how tough this weekend will be with no testing but I'll be working as hard as possible to get up to speed"- Esmee Hawkey returns behind the wheel of the T3 Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for her second DTM season, as she reacclimates with the car after missing pre-season testing.
A former W Series racer and 2020 ProAm champion in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Esmee Hawkey took her career to the next level last year, when she joined T3 Motorsport for her first campaign in one of the world's most popular GT/touring car series, DTM.
The series was entering its new GT3-reg era, and went from the uncertainty of the beginning to attracting elite teams, drivers and a big number of manufacturers. Among the 30 drivers that took the start in at least one round, there were two female drivers, both at their DTM debut - Esmee Hawkey and Sophia Floersch.
Hawkey had raced in closed wheels before and dominated in the 911 GT3 Cup car - but was at her first experience in the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and, with only a handful of laps of testing under her belt, she was "thrown in at the deep end" at the Monza season opener.
Despite the challenges, Esmee greatly impressed in qualifying and was often around the top-ten on the start grid. She targeted her first points - and she would succeed in doing so at Assen, Netherlands, where she conquered 2 points in race 1.
The young Brit will now have a second chance in DTM to shine, as the 24-year old from Kent returns to T3 Motorsport for the 2022 season, again behind the wheel of the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo.
Hawkey's return among the highest spheres of GT3 racing is really great news for female racers - as most often than not, when talented women do get these kind of opportunities, they struggle to secure a sophomore season for a lack of backing - meaning thay it becomes hard to monitor their progress after the first learning-oriented campaign.
Thankfully, Hawkey, can now build on her 2021 experience.
With 29 cars - a record number for DTM since its return in 2000 - six manufacturers and drivers representing 15 countries, though, Hawkey is well aware of the challenges she will have to face in 2022.
“Last year, I wanted to score my first points and I managed to do so", she said in the press conference ahead of this weekend's season opener at Portimão, Portugal. "But with the strength of this year’s field, it will be more difficult to finish in the points”, she added.
It will be DTM's first visit to the 4,653-kilometre Circuit of Algarve, a modern classic that has also hosted the Formula 1 Portuguese GP in 2020 and 2021. A 15-corner undulating track that offers a great variety of fast corners, inclines, descents and a few good passing opportunities.
Hawkey's off season wasn't all plain sailing, as she was forced to miss pre-season collective testing at Hockenheim and was back behind the wheel of the #26 Lamborghini only for the two day-test at Portimão that preceded the race event.
"It’s been a difficult off-season with zero testing but I’m so thankful to be back behind the wheel and thankful for all of the people who got me here" - she commented.
"The grid is even more competitive this year which is fantastic to see and shows the strength of the championship."
"I'm under no illusion of how tough this weekend will be with no testing but I'll be working as hard as possible to get up to speed."
The official sessions at Circuito do Algarve start on Friday morning with Free Practice 1 at 11:10, with FP2 going underway in the afternoon at 14:35. Two qualifying and two races on Saturday and Sunday will kick-off the 2022 DTM season in Portugal, with Esmee Hawkey as the only female driver on track.