April 15, 2014 — John Cote photo — INDIANAPOLIS — As a rookie in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Jack Hawksworth knows that he has to learn a lot on the fly.
The 23-year-old Englishman will get his newest lessons when he joins several of the series’ cars and teams visit Texas Motor Speedway on April 16-17. Nineteen car/driver combinations representing every team on the grid are expected to participate in the test, which will help set the aerodynamic options available to teams during the Firestone 600 in June.
But Hawksworth, whose superspeedway experience consists of races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway in Indy Lights, will be learning the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval’s layout in his first oval experience in an Indy car.
“I am looking forward to the test at Texas to see what one of these things is like on an oval,” he said. “I’ve never been to Texas before, so it will be interesting to see the layout. It looks unique for an oval, especially the ones I’ve been on.”
Fellow rookies Carlos Munoz and Mikhail Aleshin will also get their first laps at Texas Motor Speedway in the test, but will be joined by experienced teammates to compare notes with. Hawksworth has to go it alone, relaying on the experience of team co-owner Bryan Herta, but says that suits his style.
“There’s a really good bunch of guys on the team,” he said. “Bryan (Herta) has a bunch of experience as a driver, and he’s available to give me advice about all kinds of circuits. The engineers and everybody is really helpful in getting me up to speed and help me as much as they can. The other part is just me getting on with it myself.
“To be honest, it is a little bit of an unknown for me. I’ve watched a bit of video and seen where the line is. Once I get out there, just build up to it and get a feel for what the car does. Hopefully I can get down to it pretty quick.”
The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 27 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. The race will be televised live by NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including Sirius and XM Channels 211 and the INDYCAR 14 app for most smartphones and tablets.