Hawkeswood and spectacular new Mazda aiming for fast start
Andrew Hawkeswood has piloted some spectacular cars from his Group A Lancer Evo’s, to the fearsome Audi Quattro S1. For 2014 Andrew returns to the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ, in a new generation car that signals the future of rallycar design in this country.
Andrews new rally weapon, the Mazda 2 Maxi featuring 4WD and 2 litre turbocharged engine was designed and built throughout 2013, with the car making its competition debut at the Top Half Series final round in Gisborne last November. A trouble free run to 4th overall on its maiden outing was positive signs, and after some pre-season testing the car will now make its NZRC debut at the VINZ Rally Whangarei next weekend.
As he prepares for his return to National Championship competition, Andrew shared his thoughts on driving the new car, what fans can expect, and his aims for Rally Whangarei.
Andrew, you have competed in a wide range of fast cars, what’s the new Mazda 2 Maxi Rallycar like to drive?
“The Mazda is a great starting platform straight out of the box. With any new car you always would like more time testing before your first event, but I’m comfortable in the car and it does everything I want it too. We are really happy with where it’s at given the amount of running time it’s had.”
What are your expectations heading to the first round at Whangarei next week?
“We are looking for reliability and to get a clean fast run and more time in the car. But we are not going to the event just for a test session. I can’t help but give 110% so we’ll be trying that’s for sure. If we can be in the top 5 NZRC at the end of the event I’d be happy with that.”
What can rally followers expect from the new car?
“When building this car, one of our aims was it had to be exciting. Its fun to drive, handles well, so it will be spectacular out on the stages.
The design and build of this car was a big task, it must be satisfying to see the car now in action after a lot of hard work?
“Obviously Emma (Gilmour) started last year with her car (Suzuki Swift) and we are applying similar principles for this new type of car. The aim was for the cars to be reliable, sustainable and economic so it’s been a big project and a lot of work, but exciting to be a part of it. I must thank Motorsport New Zealand for taking on board our feedback throughout the build process. And a big thanks to Norm Soo who has led the build and created a fantastic car. We hope the fans enjoy seeing it on the stages.”