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Jess Hawkins: W Series driver spills secrets as stunt driver on new Bond film

Jess Hawkins made her professional motorsport debut in British Formula Ford at Silverstone in 2014

Iconic car chases and stunts are synonymous with James Bond films.

One of the stunt drivers in the latest, No Time To Die, is W Series driver Jess Hawkins.

Hawkins, 26, from Poole, drove a Land Rover Defender in a frantic chase scene.

“I’m part of this big three-car jump and we jumped 85 feet in the air,” Hawkins said.

“When I hit the ramp all I could see was the sky and no ground, and we then repeated it seven or eight times, each time driving harder and faster.

“I only got scared when I was already committed to the jump, but once I’d done the first one and I realised it wasn’t the horrible crash-landing I thought it could be, I wasn’t scared at all really.”

And when not stunt driving, Hawkins races in the 2021 W Series championship, which is racing alongside F1 this year.

Hawkins has been part of the female-only championship since its inception in 2019 and is currently 10th in the standings with two races left in 2021.

“I’ve had a tough start to the season, which I was anticipating as it had been so long since I’ve been racing due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s a really competitive championship,” she said.

Originally the season finale was due to be in Mexico, but the series will now conclude with a double-header at the Circuit of the Americas on 23 and 24 October in Austin, Texas, after F1 changed the date of the 2021 Mexican Grand Prix.

Hawkins’ results have improved as the season has progressed – she finished sixth at Spa and fifth at Zandvoort – and she is aiming to end on a high.

“I’m going for a podium. With the progress shown over the last two races, I think it’s achievable,” she said.

“I need a strong end to the season. There’s absolutely no substitute for seat time and as the season goes on I’m getting more seat time. Whilst I’m growing in experience, I’m also growing in confidence and I’ll carry the confidence into the final two rounds. “

The races in the United States will be the series’ first outside Europe and Hawkins is excited about the prospect of a wider audience.

“We are at the pinnacle of motorsport on the F1 stage and it opens up a whole new world who may not know we existed.

“W Series has been the driving force behind encouraging females to get into motorsport and it has made it clear it’s not a male-only place and females are welcome too,” she added.

Hawkins also has a new role as a driver ambassador for the Aston Martin F1 team, where she will be starting simulator racing with them after the W Series season ends.

As much as Hawkins enjoyed working as a stunt driver, her passion is racing and she is already thinking about next season.

“I am hoping to be back in W Series and I’d really like to do the British Touring Car Championship – that’s where my heart lies so I will try and make it happen.”

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