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Hawksworth makes European return with Algarve Pro as ELMS grid set

British sportscar star Jack Hawksworth will return to prototypes and European competition with Algarve Pro Racing in LMP2 this season as part of a 42-strong European Le Mans Series lineup.

#14 VasserSullivan Lexus RC F GT3: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat

Hawksworth, a race-winner in the IMSA SportsCar Championship's GTD Pro class for the factory Vasser Sullivan Lexus squad, will pair up with fellow IMSA racer Tristan Vautier and bronze-rated gentleman driver Fred Poordad in an ORECA-Gibson 07 entered in the LMP2 Pro-am subclass.

It marks ex-IndyCar racer Hawksworth's first foray into European racing since a partial campaign in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup with Tech 1 Racing in 2019, and his first in a prototype since the 2016 Daytona 24 Hours.

The 31-year-old made seven appearances in the now defunct LMPC category between 2014 and 2016 before beginning his stint with Lexus the following year.

“I am really excited to be joining the Algarve Pro Racing team for the 2023 European Le Mans Series,” said Hawksworth, who raced against 2021 Sebring 12 Hours winner Vautier in IndyCar in 2015.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun to be doing some racing in Europe again and I have only heard great things about the ORECA 07 LMP2 car and the team.

"I have two great team-mates in Tristan and Fred and we will be working hard alongside the team to get some strong results.”

The ELMS entry list published on Monday shows that Algarve's Pro LMP2 car will be driven by factory Cadillac driver Alex Lynn, Daytona 24 Hours LMP2 class-winner James Allen and silver-rated Kyffin Simpson, who took two fifth place finishes in Indy Lights last season.

It is one of seven ORECA 07s in the top class, the remainder being made up by United Autosports, IDEC Sport, Duqueine Team, Inter Europol Competition, Cool Racing and Panis Racing.

Hawksworth and Vautier duel at Iowa in 2015 - the former IndyCar racers will now team up for Algarve Pro in the ELMS

Hawksworth and Vautier duel at Iowa in 2015 - the former IndyCar racers will now team up for Algarve Pro in the ELMS

Photo by: Sam Cobb / Motorsport Images

Of these teams, only Inter Europol and Panis have yet to reveal their full line-ups, with only Jakub Smiechowski and Job van Uitert listed for each team respectively so far. The remaining teams had already announced their line-ups.

A total of 11 cars will contest the Pro-am subclass, which requires each car to be driven by one bronze-rated driver.

Father-and-son duo Juan Pablo and Sebastian Montoya will join Henrik Hedman at DragonSpeed as Elton Julian's squad rejoins the ELMS after a season away.

Also of note is the AF Corse line-up, which features Alpine WEC driver Matthieu Vaxiviere and Hawksworth's regular IMSA team-mate Ben Barnicoat alongside Francois Perrodo.

The 42-car ELMS grid is made up by a dozen LMP3 cars (of which 10 are Ligiers and two are Duqueines) and the same number of GTE machines (Five Ferraris, four Porsches and three Aston Martins).

Hollywood star Michael Fassbender continues with the Proton Porsche team, joined this season by Richard Lietz and Martin Rump.

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