Esmee Hawkey lands BTCC development driver role
British racer Esmee Hawkey will test a BTCC car for the first time, as she joins MB Motorsport in a Development Driver role.
Porsche Carrera Cup GB and former W Series driver Esmee Hawkey announced that she will join MB Motorsport for the team's first season in the British premiere touring car championship, as an Official Development Driver.
The deal represents another important step in Hawkey's career, as the British lady comes from a busy 2019: Esmee was selected as one of the 18 drivers for the inaugural season of the all-female W Series championship and completed a very positive Carrera Cup GB season, finishing in third place with multiple class victories.
The 22-year old from Kent, UK, will compete again in the Porsche one-make series for leading team Parker Racing and will thus also work both on-track and off-track with the newcomer team alongside official drivers Jake Hill and Sam Osborne.
MB Motorsport, founded by former Formula 1 and BTCC racer Mark Blundell, will provide Esmee with a structured programme which will include on-track coaching, off-track mentorship, as well as PR and media training.
The role will allow Hawkey to drive the MB Motorsport FK2 Honda Civic at the mid-season official test at Snetterton, where she will get behind the wheel of a BTCC car for the first time.
“I am over the moon to be working with MB Motorsport throughout the 2020 season,” - commented Esmee.
“Last year was a great year for me, experiencing the W Series and continuing my development in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB but I feel like 2020 has to be the year that I take the next step in my career. For me, there is no better way than surrounding myself with people who have the knowledge and experience of making their own way up the motorsport ladder, which is exactly what I am trying to do."
“Working with the team across all aspects both on and off the track is going to be a huge help to my development. We’ve already started out on a great footing with some of the work behind the scenes to help me start the season strongly, and we’ll be building up to me getting behind the wheel in the middle of the season too which I can’t wait for!”
HP UK, which supported Blundell in his own racing return in 2019, will again play a major role in the team's inaugural BTCC campaign thanks to the renewed partnership that will now include programmes for the development of young British drivers.
“There are so many different elements that go into making a top-level racing driver in the present day and you can only improve and develop across all of these when you are exposed to them – this new role will allow Esmee exactly that,” said Sporting Director Mark Blundell.
“Esmee has made a thoroughly impressive start to her career, has some great people already around her and we are hoping that we can help accelerate this development this year through her new role."
“With Shaun [Hollamby, part of the team's management] having already worked with her during the early stages of her career, he is well aware of the talent Esmee possesses, and I was also able to see that first hand myself last year where she produced a number of impressive drives in the Carrera Cup."
Blundell, who completed four seasons in Formula 1 from 1991 to 1995, including one year at McLaren, has since then taken young drivers' development very seriously: “The last fifteen years of my career have been spent trying to provide opportunities for young people to make the most of their talent, no matter what barriers lie in their way, and HP UK are just as passionate about that too. We are really looking forward to continuing our strong relationship with HP UK and this new opportunity for Esmee is just one part of that.”
After the single-seater experience culminated with a third place in qualifying at Brands Hatch as a season highlight, Esmee Hawkey will now focus her efforts on further advancing her career at the top of the British motorsport ladder. The British Touring Car Championship is one of the most famous and followed championships worldwide, with 40,000 attendance figures and unprecedented live coverage throughout the UK, thanks to its contract with ITV.
No women drivers have been part of the series grid in the last ten years.
In Esmee's words:
"Working with the team across all aspects both on and off the track is going to be a huge help to my development."