Paul Hawkins (racing driver)

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Paul Hawkins
Hawkins, Paul 1966.jpg
Hawkins in 1966
Born(1937-10-12)12 October 1937
Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died26 May 1969(1969-05-26) (aged 31)
Oulton Park, Cheshire, England, UK
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australian
Active years 1965
Teamsnon-works Brabham and Lotus
Championships 0
Wins 0
Career points0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1965 South African Grand Prix
Last entry 1965 German Grand Prix

Robert Paul Hawkins (12 October 1937 – 26 May 1969) was an Australian motor racing driver. The son of a racing motorcyclist-turned-church minister, Hawkins was a capable single-seater driver but really made his mark as an outstanding sports car competitor driving Ford GT40s and Lola T70s. In 1969 Hawkins was included in the FIA list of graded drivers, an elite group of 27 drivers who by their achievements were rated the best in the world. [1]


Hawkins was hugely popular and known as Hawkeye; the son of a gentleman of the cloth he was a colourful character with a wide colourful vocabulary. [2] He was also famous for being one of two racers to crash into the harbour at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Early racing career

Hawkins began racing in Australia with an Austin-Healey in 1958. He left Australia and arrived in England in 1960. [3] He found employment with the Donald Healey Motor Company Ltd., [4] under John Sprinzel:

"I put an ad in the Evening Standard newspaper looking for a mechanic and employed a really good guy to be our works foreman; his name was Paul Hawkins. Paul literally came in straight off the boat from Australia. He’d done a little bit of racing and was a very good mechanic, very good as he knew his stuff, and certainly knew the best parts of the English language, too." [5]

Hawkins was soon behind the wheel of an Austin-Healey Sprite, racing at the Aintree 200 meeting on 30 April 1960, and winning his class in the GT race. [6] He then finished 38th at the 1960 Nürburgring 1000 km race, with co-driver Cyril Simson, known as Team 221, on a "miserable foggy day in May". [7] In 1961 at Le Mans Hawkins teamed with John Colgate in an Austin-Healey Sprite, but they retired in the eighth hour with engine problems. [8] On Whit Monday, 1962, at Crystal Palace Hawkins drove Ian Walker's Lotus-Ford to victory in the up to 1,150 c.c. sports car race, setting lap and race records. [9] At Le Mans in 1965 Hawkins, with John Rhodes, finished twelfth overall, and first in class, in a 1.3-litre Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite entered by the Donald Healey Motor Company, completing 278 laps. [10]

Hawkins also drove single-seaters, participating in the first race run to the new Formula Two regulations at Pau on 5 April 1964, finishing seventh in a pushrod Alexis. [11] He was entered in a Team Alexis Alexis-Cosworth at Silverstone on 20 March 1965 but the race was abandoned due to heavy rain. [12] He went on to win the Formula Two Eifelrennen race on the Nürburgring south circuit, in bad weather, in an Alexis-Cosworth Mk. 7 on 25 April 1965. [13]

Formula One racing

Hawkins driving a privately entered Lotus at the 1965 German Grand Prix. 1965-07-30 Paul Hawkins, Lotus-Climax.jpg
Hawkins driving a privately entered Lotus at the 1965 German Grand Prix.

Hawkins participated in three Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 1 January 1965 at the South African Grand Prix in a pushrod Ford 1500cc-engined Brabham Formula Two car. Like fellow-Australian Frank Gardner he started with the John Willment Automobiles team. He scored no championship points, as his best finish was ninth on his debut. He did have two podium finishes in the non-championship Rand Grand Prix, held in South Africa. He finished second in 1964 and third in 1965. In 1964 he won the Rhodesian Grand Prix in the Brabham [14] and in 1965 he also won the Cape South Easter Formula One Trophy. He was a non-starter in the 1965 British Grand Prix [15] and retired from the German Grand Prix that year with an oil leak. [16]

He is one of only two Formula One drivers, along with Italian Alberto Ascari, to have crashed into the harbour in Monaco during a Grand Prix. He did so during the 1965 race, when he spun at the chicane after 79 of the 100 laps. He escaped from the crash unhurt:

"At this point there was a bit of a furore at the chicane for Hawkins struck the wooden barrier at the entry and spun through the straw bales and over the edge of the quay and into the harbour. The Lotus sank to the bottom and the rugged Australian bobbed to the surface and struck out for shore, while boats went to his rescue." [17]

Sports car racing

Hawkins had some considerable success in the World Sports Car Championship. On 14 May 1967, he won the Targa Florio, in Sicily, teamed with Rolf Stommelen, in the factory-entered 8-cylinder Porsche 910. [18] On 23 May 1967, he finished second in the Nürburgring 1000 km in a Porsche 910. [19] He also won the Zeltweg 500 km race on 20 August 1967, in a Ford GT40. [20] On 15 October 1967, at the end of the season Hawkins, paired with Jacky Ickx, won the Paris 1000 km race at Montlhéry in a J.W. Automotive Mirage. [21]

Then on 25 April 1968, he won the Monza 1000 km race with David Hobbs in a Ford GT40, finished second in the Watkins Glen 6-hour, again with Hobbs, [22] and scored thirds at the Nürburgring 1000 km with Jacky Ickx [23] and Zeltweg 500 km races. On 23 November 1968, he won the Cape Town Three Hours solo in a Ferrari P4. [24]

Hawkins was building a business as an owner/operator of racing cars, and in the spring of 1969 he moved his racing shop from North London to Slough. [25] He was killed when his Lola T70 MkIIIB GT crashed and burned at Island Bend during the 1969 RAC Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park. [26]

Contemporary Mike Hailwood gave the following quote in the Daily Mirror article concerning Hawkins' death.

"The news of his death horrified me. I can hardly believe that a man as skilful and as experienced as he was should be killed in this way" [27]

Complete Formula One World Championship results


1965 John Willment Automobiles Brabham BT10 (F2) Ford Straight-4 RSA
DW Racing Enterprises Lotus 33 Climax V8 MON

Formula One Non-Championship results


1964 John Willment Automobiles Lola T55 Cosworth Straight-4 DMT NWT SYR AIN INT SOL MED
Brabham BT10 (F2) Ford Straight-4 RAN
1965 John Willment Automobiles Brabham BT10 Climax Straight-4 CAP
DW Racing Enterprises Lotus 33 Climax V8 ROC
Lotus 24 SYR
Reg Parnell (Racing) Lotus 25 Climax Straight-4 RAN
1966 Reg Parnell Racing Lotus 25 Climax Straight-4 RSA

See also

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  1. F.I.A. Year Book of Automobile Sport, P.S.L. Publications Limited., London, 1969.
  2. Peter Swinger, "Motor Racing Circuits in England : Then & Now" (Ian Allan Publishing, ISBN   0 7110 3104 5, 2008)
  3. Castrol advertisement, Motor Sport, October 1967, Page 893.
  4. Motor Sport, July 1960, Page 554.
  5. Interview with John Sprinzel, Vintage Racecar, Vol 12, Issue 5, May 2009.
  6. The Times, 2 May 1960.
  7. D.S.J., Motor Sport, July 1960, Pages 534-535.
  8. Automobile Year, No. 9, 1961-1962, Edita S.A., Lausanne, Page 185.
  9. Motor Sport, July 1962, Page 498.
  10. Motor Sport, July 1965, Page 565.
  11. Motor Sport, May 1964, Pages 353-354. See also cover picture.
  12. Motor Sport, April 1965, Page 260.
  13. Motor Sport, June 1965, Page 463.
  14. Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 177. ISBN   0851127029.
  15. Motor Sport, August 1965, Page 662.
  16. Motor Sport, September 1965, Page 770.
  17. D.S.J., Motor Sport, July 1965, Page 589.
  18. Autocar, 25 May 1967, Pages 52-54; Motor Sport, June 1967, Pages 477, 485.
  19. Motor Sport, January 1968, Page 27.
  20. Motor Sport, January 1968, Page 30.
  21. Motor Sport, January 1968, Page 8.
  22. Motor Sport, January 1969, Page 30.
  23. Motor Sport, June 1968, pages 472–473.
  24. Motor Sport, January 1969, Page 33.
  25. The Motor, 3 May 1969, Pages 95-96.
  26. The Guardian, 28 May 1969, Page 6; Motor Sport, July 1969, Page 742.
  27. "Race Ace Killed in Blazing Car". Daily Mirror. 27 May 1969.


  • McLeod, Ivan (2003). 'Hawkeye': The rapid and outrageous life of the Australian racing driver. Croydon, England: MRP Publishing. ISBN   1899870679.