28 Oct 2020
Esmee Hawkey continued to close in on the 2020 Porsche Carrera Cup GB ProAm championship title at Snetterton with two podium places, meaning she can secure the title at her home track of Brands Hatch at the season finale.
Friday’s Free Practice sessions provided the drivers with both dry and wet sessions, allowing them to gain useful experience ahead of the weekend’s two 14 lap races. The teams and drivers had a long wait on Saturday until the 4:45 start to the single qualifying session but Esmee was able to secure pole position with a time four tenths of a second faster than her nearest rival.
Race day once again had the competitors guessing as the sun shone on a wet track. With the temperature firmly in single digits the drivers had little choice but to run wet tyres for the first race. As the lights went out the 460 bhp of Esmee’s Porsche GT3 Cup car caused the rear wheels to spin off the line and she fell back behind team-mate and title rival Ryan Ratcliffe and Aaron Mason.
Not wishing to hang around however she swiftly dispatched Mason with a move through the Esses, then set about closing on Ryan. With the track drying the drivers were forced to manage their tyres to prevent the wet Michelins from overheating. With the laps counting down Esmee was able to close a number time on Ryan, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process, but was never able to find the opportunity to pass, having to settle for second place.
Race two got underway in dry conditions allowing Esmee to focus on passing Ryan. Sadly an error on the opening laps allowed Mason to pass when Esmee went wide due to cold tyres. Realising she would not have time to catch her rivals she set about securing the fastest lap of the race, and the extra point that goes with it. Finishing third Esmee now leads the title battle by 23 points with a maximum of 24 points available at Brands Hatch meaning she simply has to secure one point to take the 2020 title.
“It was good to get some dry running in during Free Practice One. I was on old tyres but I was pretty happy with the pace, and happy with what I’d learnt for the weekend. Going into FP2 it was raining so I built up my confidence in the wet. We found some areas to explore with my engineer but were in a good place for the weekend. Qualifying went really well and we got the class pole position, and the points that go with it.
“We thought it was going to be dry for race one, so slicks on a greasy track, but everyone went on wets as it was too cold to gamble. If I had I would have been last! We made the right decision and it was a fun race, but I got a bad start. I had a lot of wheelspin off the line and lost out to Ryan (Ratcliffe) and Aaron (Mason). I made the move on the first lap and got past Mason under the bridge, as I knew I had to catch Ryan for the championship. I had to manage the tyres as the track was drying, so it was cat and mouse with Ryan, he was as quick as me, but I got the fastest lap and was happy to get the points.
“I got a good start to race two but I wasn’t able to get Ryan off the line. Going into the hairpin I ran wide onto the kerb and Mason managed to pass me as my tyres were not up to temperature. He’s quite a hard driver to race against but a few laps in I went for a move up the inside into turn two but locked up the rear wheels and span. I realised I wasn’t going to be able to chase Mason and get back up there, so I was focused on getting the fastest lap of the race. I really wanted to finish the ProAm championship in race two, but it wasn’t to be.
“I’m feeling confident going to Brands Hatch though and it’s my home track. It shouldn’t be too difficult to wrap up the title, I just need to get pole and its done.”