Jessica Hawkins claims victory in Zeo Prototype Series
Jessica Hawkins secured her first victory of the season in the Zeo Prototype Series with a fantastic display at Brands Hatch, where she claimed class honours, her second podium finish of the season and the fastest lap in race 2.
Jessica Hawkins secured her first victory of the season in the Zeo Prototype Series with a fantastic display at Brands Hatch. Competing for University of Wolverhampton Racing alongside Shane Kelly in a Praga R1T, Hawkins backed up Kelly’s earlier victory by claiming class honours in race two of the day. Setting the fastest lap of the race in the process, Jessica showed her speed in the multi-class prototype series to claim her second podium finish of the season.
The Zeo Prototype Series is the home of multi-class sports prototype racing in the UK, with Praga R1T machines competing alongside a grid of Radicals, LMP3 race cars and specially built chassis including the Jenvey Gunn and Juno.
This season Jessica has competed alongside Shane Kelly in a University of Wolverhampton Racing ran Praga R1T, with the Zeo Prototype Series race format featuring a pair of sprint races. As a result, teams can choose to run either one driver or a duo in which both drivers compete in qualifying, before competing in one race apiece.
Teammate Shane Kelly was a regular competitor in the Praga Cup in recent years and this knowledge has assisted Jessica to quickly get up to speed in a challenging car to master. In the opening round of the season on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, Hawkins and Kelly qualified third overall, second in the class to underline their potential as a partnership.
Jessica drove brilliant in race one to lead her class and was on for a debut victory before a misfire forced her into retirement with just three laps remaining of the 30 minute race. With the team doing a great job to fix the issue for race two, Shane claimed class victory while also securing the fastest lap.
The second round of the Zeo Prototype Series was held on the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit in June, with Hawkins and Kelly once again setting the pace as they claimed pole position in class by three tenths of a second. Jessica drove the Praga R1T in race one and enjoyed close battles throughout the 30 minute race, finishing fourth overall, second in class.
The competitive nature of the Zeo Prototype Series can be shown by the fact Hawkins missed out on overall victory by less than four seconds, also coming within a few tenths of a second of fastest lap. Kelly was in great form once again in race two, piloting the University of Wolverhampton Racing machine to his second victory in as many races.
Brands Hatch has been a good circuit for Jessica in the past and she was looking to continue this form on the Indy layout in the Praga R1T. In the twenty minute qualifying session allocated to drivers, Hawkins drove for the first half of the session and set a fastest lap of a 45.501. Shane drove for the final ten minutes and improved on Jessica’s time by two tenths of a second. With Kelly driving in race one, he would line up fourth overall, second in class, with Hawkins likewise starting from second in class behind fellow Praga R1T driver Ruben Stanislaus.
Shane drove in the opening 20 minute race of the day and from fourth position, enjoyed a close battle with Stanislaus before overtaking his rival on lap ten for the class lead. A late move on the Juno of Graham Charman meant that Kelly finished his race in second overall, while claiming class A victory to remain unbeaten during the season.
Jessica was aiming to replicate her teammate’s performance and started the race brilliantly, moving into the class lead on the opening lap ahead of Stanislaus. Holding off the class A Norma LMP3 of Max Windheuser in the early stages, Hawkins was then able to grow the gap to her rival to over one and a half seconds by lap five. A safety car on lap nine gave Jessica a chance to fight for the overall race victory and with the retirement of Mike Jenvey, the University of Wolverhampton Racing driver was up to second overall.
As the race resumed, Hawkins stayed in close proximity to the Juno of Graham Charman and was shaping up a move as the race was brought to a premature conclusion with a red flag. Nonetheless, Jessica had claimed class victory with a great performance which also included the fastest lap of the race in class.
Jessica was able to shake off the bad luck from the earlier in the season to claim a well deserved victory in the competitive Zeo Prototype Series. The multi-class racing allows Jessica to develop her skills while racing at high speeds at Britain’s most prestigious circuits.
With four victories from six races overall, the University of Wolverhampton Racing team will be looking to add to this tally at the final round of the Zeo Prototype Series which takes place at Snetterton on the 15th October.