12/10/1937 - 26/5/1969
A tough Australian racer who was a very capable single seater driver but really stood out in sports cars, driving Ford GT40s and Lola T70s. Paul Hawkins died 53 years ago, he was 32 , He would have been 85.
The son of a racing motorcyclist-turned-church minister, this tough Australian was a capable single seater driver but really made his mark as an outstanding sports car competitor driving Ford GT40s and Lola T70s.
He came to Britain in the early sixties with no money, but plenty of determination to further his racing career. He was also willing to do whatecer it took to achieve his goal. He went to work at the Healey factory in 1960 and to race their Sprites. He won his class in the GT race at the Aintree 200 meeting, then finishing seventh with Ian Walker and helping the Sprinzel Sprite team to win the Team Prize at the demanding Nurburgring 500 Kms race for under 1,000cc Touring and GT cars in Germany.
This led to two happy seasons with Ian Walker's sports car and Formula Junior team, before he was tempted to join John Willment in 1964 to race all sorts of cars, taking an aggregate second place in the Rand GP and winning the Rhodesian GP in a pushrod Ford 1500cc-engined Brabham Formula 2.
He used the same car to make his GP debut at East London in South Africa in 1965. Back in Europe, Paul had an unproductive time in Dickie Stoop's Lotus 33.
He also became one of only two Formula One drivers, Alberto Ascari being the other, to have crashed into the harbour in Monaco during a Grand Prix. He did so during the 1965 race in the Lotus 33, when he spun at the chicane after 79 of the 100 laps, thankfully escaping unhurt.
Later in 1965 he won the F2 Eifelrennen in an Alexis. Apart from a few F1 races with Tim Parnell early in 1966, Hawkins turned his attention to sports cars, which offered him a better opportunity to show his talent. Racing his own Ford GT40, he achieved numerous excellent wins and countless placings during 1967 and '68, with his trips to South Africa proving particularly fruitful, and was also in demand by the top sports car teams of the period as a freelance, winning the 1967 Targa Florio for Porsche and the 1967 Paris 1000 Km and the 1968 Monza 1000 Km for John Wyer.
With his Lola T70 run from the factory, 'Hawkeye' embarked on a season of sports car racing in 1969 and it was a terrible blow for the sport when this no-nonsense character lost his life when his T70GT crashed into a tree and burned at Island Bend during the 1969 Tourist Trophy race at Oulton Park.