JGR Tabs Hawksworth For Mid-Ohio Xfinity Race

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JGR Tabs Hawksworth
Jack Hawksworth will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut this weekend for Joe Gibbs Racing. (IMSA photo)

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – Joe Gibbs Racing announced Wednesday that Jack Hawksworth will make his NASCAR debut this weekend in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the organization.

Hawksworth will pilot the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“I’m excited to be joining the Joe Gibbs Racing team and driving the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra this weekend at Mid-Ohio,” said Hawksworth. “It’s a fantastic opportunity in a completely different series, against completely different competition and in a different type of racing. From a personal perspective, I’m very excited to experience something new and to be challenged in a new way. It’s going to be very different, I’m sure it’s going to be difficult and there’s going to be a bit of a learning curve with it, but I’m going into it with a championship-winning organization so that gives me a lot of confidence.

“I look to get out there and do a good job and looking forward to getting out on the track.”

While this weekend will mark his first race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the Xfinity Series, the 28-year-old Bradford, England native is no stranger to the 2.4-mile course.

Most recently, Hawksworth competed at the track in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD class, where he and teammate Richard Heistand piloted their Lexus RC F GT3 to the win in May.

The duo also captured a win this season at Raceway at Belle Isle Park in June and are currently tied for the lead in the IMSA GTD Sprint Cup Championship team standings, while also sitting fourth in the overall GTD points standings.

Since moving to the United States in 2011, Hawksworth has competed in multiple racing series. He first made his mark in the U.S. competing in the Star Mazda Series in 2012, where he won the championship and broke the series record for most wins, poles and fastest lap in a season. He then moved to the Indy Lights Series for 2013 where he earned three race wins, six podium finishes and two pole positions.

For the next three seasons, Hawksworth competed in the NTT IndyCar Series, finishing a career-best finish of third in 2014 in Houston, Texas and earning the Indy Car Tony Renna Rising Star Award during his rookie season. He also won the 2014 Brickyard Grand Prix in the IMSA Prototype Challenge class at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Hawksworth moved to the RC F GT3 in 2017, where he has competed the last two seasons.

“As we head in to the second road course of the season, we’re fortunate to have a veteran like Jack Hawksworth be able to come out of the Lexus program to help out the Toyota family and our team in the No. 18 iK9 Supra this weekend,” said Steve DeSouza, Executive Vice President of Xfinity Series and Development for Joe Gibbs Racing. “He will bring a great deal of experience and a history of success to JGR this weekend. I think he’ll be a great asset to our team and be someone that both Brandon (Jones) and Christopher (Bell) can look to for advice on how to get around Mid-Ohio.

“Jack’s proven he can win at the track, and there’s no reason not to continue that this weekend with the (No.) 18 team.”

Hawksworth replaces Jeffrey Earnhardt behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota Supra.

Earnhardt was scheduled to drive the car this weekend at Mid-Ohio, but revealed on social media Wednesday that he has “parted ways” with sponsor iK9.

Earnhardt was scheduled to race the No. 81 Xtreme Concepts Toyota Supra for XCI Racing at Daytona Int’l Speedway in July, but the team withdrew their entry before the race.

A fourth-generation driver, Earnhardt earned a career-best finish of third at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway earlier this season in Xfinity Series action, one of seven starts he’s made this year.