Paul Hawkins

Full Name:
Robert Paul Hawkins
Born:
12th October 1937
Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria
Died:
26th May 1969 (Aged 31)
Oulton Park, Cheshire (GB), Tourist Trophy
Nationality:
Australian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

This gritty Australian extrovert is one of only two drivers to have crashed into Monaco’s harbour. Like Alberto Ascari a decade earlier, Paul Hawkins survived only to be killed in a later crash. Like Ascari, he died on May 26. A straight-talking colourful character, it is sadly ironic that someone renowned as one of the safest drivers around should perish as he did.

Background and early racing career

"Hawkeye" was the son of a builder who raced motorcycles before later becoming a Protestant clergyman. Hawkins started racing saloons in 1958 and he travelled to England two years later to further his career with just £30 to his name. But a job as a mechanic with Healey immediately led to outings with an Austin-Healey Sprite.

Further races during 1961 included both the Sebring and Le Mans endurance classics. The next two seasons were with Ian Walker Racing in Formula Junior and sports cars. His 1963 FJ campaign was marred by a succession of substantial accidents but his Brabham BT6-Ford narrowly beat Richard Attwood’s Lola at Rouen-les-Essarts.

Grand Prix debut

He joined John Willment’s team for 1964 for a season in Formula 2 and the national saloon car championship. He then finished ninth on his Grand Prix debut in South Africa at the start of 1965 with Willment’s F2 Brabham BT10-Ford. He switched to Dickie Stoop’s DW Racing Enterprises Lotus 33-Climax for the Monaco GP and qualified in 14th position before making his famous dip into the Mediterranean. He also retired from the German GP but won that year’s Eifelrennen F2 race at the Nürburgring driving a works Alexis Mk6-Ford.

Hawkins switched to endurance racing for 1966 and his works Porsche 906 finished fourth in the Nürburgring 1000Kms. He survived crashing end-over-end during practice for the inaugural Can-Am race at St Jovite that year and Hawkins was soon an international race winner.

Sports car winner

He shared the 1967 Targa Florio-winning works Porsche 910 with Rolf Stommelen and was second in the Nürburgring 1000Kms with Gerhard Koch. He also won the non-championship Paris 1000Kms at Montlhéry when sharing a Mirage-Ford with Jacky Ickx. The success continued in 1968 with victory in the Monza 1000Kms and Hawkins was placed in another five rounds with John Wyer’s Ford GT40 as the marque won the World Sportscar Championship for the second time.

Running a semi-works Lola T70 Mk3B-Chevrolet in 1969, he was battling for the lead of the Tourist Trophy at a wet Oulton Park when he crashed into a tree at the Island Bend. The popular Australian was killed as the car was engulfed in flames.