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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Strong pace goes unrewarded for Esmee Hawkey at Donington Park

Esmeee Hawkey's pace in the Silver GT4 class of British GT has been impressive from the get go, but misfortune continued to hit the Toro Verde GT racer , who didn't get the chance to show her speed at Donington Park due to a gearbox issue.


Photo credits: British GT/JEP

Esmee Hawkey suffered misfortune at Donington Park where her and teammate Joe Wheeler were forced to retire with mechanical issues just 14 laps into the two-hour contest. The weekend started in promising fashion for the Toro Verde GT driver, placing inside the top-10 in free practice, before Hawkey and Wheeler qualified their Ginetta G56 GT4 in tenth. Joe was making strong progress in the opening stages of the race, before a gearbox problem ended their day early.


Arriving into the weekend, Esmee was hoping for a change of fortune following a difficult start to the season. Teaming up with Joe Wheeler, their best overall result prior to Donington Park was a 13th place effort coming in race two at Oulton Park, with race one seeing them finish a season high eighth in the silver class. Esmee and Joe participated in the pre-event test session at Donington Park on Thursday, completing 42 laps in their Ginetta G56 GT4 with their fastest time of a 1:34.394 quick enough for 13th place in GT4 overall, ninth place in the silver category.


Saturday morning saw Esmee and Joe take part in two free practice sessions ahead of qualifying later that day. The drivers completed a total of 53 laps across both sessions which was the most of any team in GT4, taking full advantage of the track time to dial in their Ginetta G56 GT4. Esmee and Joe finished the first session tenth fastest in GT4, seventh in the silver class, before ending the second session seventh in GT4, fifth in the silver class with Esmee setting the fastest lap in the #80 car.


With a scheduled two-hour race on Sunday, qualifying was split into two sessions with grid positions decided by the combined times of both drivers. Joe took part in the first session and set the fourth fastest time in class. This put the #80 car in a strong position ahead of Esmee’s more challenging second session, with Hawkey sharing the track with fellow silver drivers alongside the Pro drivers from the Pro-Am line-ups. Coming up just one tenth shy of Joe’s fastest lap, Esmee placed 12th in the second qualifying group, seventh in the silver class which resulted in a combined time which was tenth fastest in GT4, seventh quickest in the silver class.


Teammate Joe Wheeler took the start of the race with Esmee scheduled to drive in the second half of the two-hour contest. After starting from tenth, Joe dropped to 11th on the opening lap before re-entering the top-10 a lap later. Wheeler was steadily making his way through the field and was running in ninth, eighth place in the silver class, when a gearbox issue forced the #80 Ginetta G56 GT4 to retire from the race. It was a disappointing end for Esmee who did not get the chance to show her speed during her stint with the team’s race ended prematurely.


Despite the early end, Esmee’s pace continues to be strong and among the best in the silver class, highlighting her true potential. It is only a matter of time before the Toro Verde GT team claim the result they deserve with Hawkey aiming to bounce back when British GT returns on the weekend of 17th/18th June with a double header at Snetterton.

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