Hawkeswood chasing a piece of history in 2024

Whitford Junior driver Jack Hawkeswood sees the 2024 Brian Green Property Group as his best shot yet to crown himself New Zealand rally champion.

While Hawkeswood enters the season with his Force Motorsport Toyota GR Yaris AP4 that has seen him through two partial campaigns in the past two seasons, plenty of development as well as a new in-car partnership have the 23-year-old confident days out of from the opening round.

“I’ve been very fortunate to get Jason Farmer in the car with me this year, he’s really really experienced, we did a few pre-season events and we’ve bonded really well and gone really well in those events so we’re really happy with how everything is going there,” said Hawkeswood.

“The second major reason is we didn’t do a lot of rallying last year but that didn’t mean we weren’t working on the car and Force Motorsport has produced a beautiful car for us to drive this year, we’re really really happy with where it’s at in the pre-season testing.

“The third thing that’s helpful to us is the Winmax Junior Driver Scholarship, to have the support and insights from Hayden (Paddon) and Winmax will be a huge help.

With a couple of testing events at rallysprints including an impressive victory for the new partnership, Hawkeswood is already reaping the benefits of having a former national champion in the car.

“Having someone as experienced as Jason, I actually had no idea how long he’d been doing it for until I actually asked him, he’s been doing it for a bloody long time but it makes it really good, we can make suggestions and bounce ideas off each other with things that he’s used with other drivers and it makes it really easy to do efficient recce’s.”

With two new events, Daybreaker and Bay of Plenty rallies, joining the championship last year plus the introduction of the Invercargill-based Southern Lights Rally, Hawkeswood will have plenty of new territory to cover in the 2024 season, but feels up for the challenge.

“I think I’ll be ok, like I was saying having Jason in the car is massively helpful in that he really knows what he’s doing and he’s really good on the recce. I believe a good recce is 80 percent of your rally so especially on a rally you haven’t done before, it’s really important to get that recce nailed. I’m really excited to do those rounds and excited to have someone so experienced to sit beside me through them.”

Other new ground for the second generation driver, like his fellow competitors is the introduction of the MRF Tyre as a control tyre, the first time such restrictions have been implemented in the NZRC and something Hawkeswood sees as a positive move.

“I think it’s a good thing having a control tyre, it really levels the playing field for everybody. With the two compounds that we’ve got, it’s going to bring a lot more tactics with tyre choice and things like that, but it’s really good in the way it levels the field. The MRF Tyres have been around for a long time and the testing we have done on them, they’ve proven to be quite good so we’ll have to see how they go after the first round at Otago.”

So, having put his own case forward, who does Hawkeswood see as his biggest rivals for the title in 2024?

“Probably Ben (Hunt), he’s just so experienced and been doing it for such a long time, probably back when I was in nappies he was doing it, so him and Emma (Gilmour), just based off their experience levels as much as anything.”

So if he can top the points standings crossing the finishing ramp of the International Rally of Whangarei in November, Hawkeswood insists it would be special for a number of reasons.

“It would be an absolute dream come true and would also be very special for the family as well, because it would make us the first father and son to win the championship so it is definitely something I want to push for, because this is the year to do it.”

The Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship gets underway with the Central Machine Hire Otago Rally on April 13-14.


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The New Zealand Rally Championship is this country’s premier nationwide rally championship. It attracts New Zealand’s best drivers to compete in numerous categories for the prestigious MotorSport New Zealand-sanctioned rally championship titles. In 2024, there are six NZRC rounds, each with a unique character reflecting the diverse regions – from Northland to Invercargill