After clinching the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear for Team Pelfrey with one race weekend remaining, gifted Englishman Jack Hawksworth and his management team have elected not to contest the season finale at Road Atlanta. Hawksworth, however, will travel to Georgia with the team to serve as driver coach for young American Ryan Tveter who will instead drive the No. 82 Team Pelfrey entry in the final round on Friday, Oct. 19.
“We've obviously had a fantastic season with Team Pelfrey,” said Chris Harfield, whose British-based management company, Williams Harfield Sports Group, oversees Hawksworth's business affairs. “This has been a monumental effort from a variety of people and we had to make a decision as to what was best for everybody. I know it's disappointing for both Jack and the team, because they really wanted to put an exclamation point on the season, but the situation is what it is and truth be told we still consider ourselves very fortunate. I would like to thank Team Pelfrey for their efforts this season. They are a class act and both Jack and the team deserve all the success they accomplished.”
Hawksworth's form this season has been little short of sensational. The 21-year-old from Bradford, England, had only one full season of car racing under his belt, finishing fourth in a fiercely competitive 2011 Formula Renault UK Championship after a stellar career in karting, but he hit the ground running with a win, a second and two PEAK Performance Pole Awards in the opening two races at St. Petersburg, Fla. His final tally included eight wins, 11 poles and 12 podium finishes. He clinched the championship with a win last month at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“It's a tough one,” said Hawksworth. “Naturally, I desperately wish I was out there racing with the guys one last time. The team has been fantastic to me all year. They've given me a great car and we've accomplished so much together; you just don't want a season like this to ever finish. However, there are a lot of people that I obviously need to thank for putting me in the car this year and the decision was made by everybody collectively for me to sit this one out. I have to respect that they've given me every opportunity to win this championship; I wouldn't be here without them.
“I'm just so thankful for everything that has happened to me this year,” he continued. “Everybody has worked so hard and it's been fantastic to be involved in the Star Mazda Championship and the Mazda Road to Indy. I have to focus on making the graduation to Indy Lights in 2013, but in the meantime I'll do everything I can to help Ryan and Team Pelfrey end the season on a winning note.”
Tveter, 18, from Oyster Bay, N.Y., has campaigned a partial season of Star Mazda competition in 2012 after competing last year on the Formula 1600 Tour in Canada and a one-off USF2000 outing at Baltimore. He earned a best finish of fifth in tricky wet-dry conditions at Edmonton in July.
Tveter will join regular Team Pelfrey drivers Petri Suvanto and Gustavo Menezes for the season finale.