An initial shakedown of the team’s Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo and a private pre-event test was all the 23-year-old British driver – who won the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Pro-Am class title last year – was able to manage in her new surroundings before the opening round at Monza. Lamborghini has had a long history with giving promising female drivers a chance to forge a career in GT racing, notably through its one-make Super Trofeo championships in Europe, North America, Middle East and Asia. That left Hawkey and her management team – MB Partners, run by former Formula 1 driver Mark Blundell – to try and put together an 11th-hour deal with Lamborghini and T3 Motorsport. “I had a bit of an interesting start to the year, we sort of planned the next stages of my career, which was to go to Porsche Supercup and then the Iron Dames project in ELMS came up and I did some testing with them. And to work in a nice environment with T3 and with a team-mate as good as Esteban [Muth] has been really productive.

Between team-mates, nothing is kept secret while Hawkey is also fortunate to lean on the support of partner, and fellow Lamborghini newcomer, Jordan Pepper. That race, we struggled with the race pace, but we learned a lot and have improved on a lot of things since that opening round.” It was a big relief.” But then it all kicked off that I wouldn’t be racing for them, about 10 days before the start of the ELMS season." He’s been at every race so far as well so that extra bit of knowledge and the pointers I get from him have been really good this year so far.” “For me, I’m new to GT3 and so is the team so we’re really learning at each race. “So, to work that hard to get something sorted and for it to fall through was not a great start to the season for me.

This year, Hawkey is part of a two-car effort from T3 Motorsport, which is leading Lamborghini’s maiden campaign in the Germany-based championship. Therefore, the performances of both Hawkey and the team to not only get up to speed at Monza, but to continue the learning curve at the Lausitzring and subsequently at Zolder where Esmee achieved her best race result in race two, point to a promising second half of the year. “The braking in particular has probably been the biggest learning point. Coming from a Cup car in Porsches, there are a lot of differences for me to get used to in the Lamborghini, such as traction control and ABS which are very different to what I’ve been used to,” Hawkey explains. Hawkey is driving one of just two Lamborghini Huracáns in the DTM this season, with highly rated Belgian teenager Esteban Muth creating waves in the second of the T3 Motorsport cars. The effort from Hawkey and her team to get her on the grid this year is not to be underestimated.

Hawkey is back in action on the weekend of 20-22 August for the fourth round of the season, held at the Nürburgring in Germany. But, as she found out, life is full of surprises and her plans changed suddenly on the eve of the new campaign.

Stepping up: Esmee Hawkey takes on DTM with Lamborghini


p>Getting to grips with a brand-new car is a difficult task on its own but imagine having to do so against a field of some of the most experienced GT3 drivers in the world on just a handful of hours of testing, four days before the first round. “I think that performance shocked a lot of people, to be honest,” said Hawkey. “I had a few people come up to me after that qualifying session to say, ‘mega job’, I don’t think anyone was really expecting the new girl on the block to put it P12 on the grid." But thankfully, I worked hard with my sponsors and MB Partners to find the opportunity to race in the DTM with T3 Motorsport and Lamborghini; [DTM boss] Gerhard Berger was another one to come to us asking if we were interested as I think he was keen to try and build a little rivalry between me a [fellow female driver] Sophia [Flörsch]. “It was a really cool start to the season, and it was good for me to have that kind of positivity and belief that this is the right decision, and I can actually do this.

For Esmee Hawkey, that’s precisely the mountain she was up against ahead of her DTM debut with Lamborghini squad T3 Motorsport earlier this year. A deal so close to the start of the season is pretty much unheard of, given how competitive the driver market is, particularly in GT3 racing. But, despite the lack of time in the car, Hawkey impressed on her very first qualifying session in a GT3 car, lining up 12th for the first race. Compared to the rest of the field, Lamborghini has numerical inferiority, with Mercedes running seven cars, Audi five, Ferrari three and BMW three.

Hawkey’s original plans for this season had been to race in the European Le Mans Series. “He’s obviously got a lot more GT3 experience than me and he’s been really helpful in advising me how to get more at ease in the car. Getting into the Lamborghini for the first time as well was a surreal experience, I loved every minute of it and probably didn’t want to go home at the end of the day if I’m honest!” Only McLaren has run fewer cars than Lamborghini this season.

Therefore, collaboration and teamwork play a crucial role in the development and progression of both team and drivers.

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