It’s been a remarkable twelve months for 15-year-old Pukekohe High School student Liam Lawson.
In less than a year, Lawson has won the New Zealand F1600 championship and finished runner-up in the Australian Formula 4 championship.
And from the points he’s scored in both series, Lawson is mathematically eligible for a CAMS Super License – required to race, for example, a V8 Supercar – but he’s too young. Apart from the minimum points, drivers have to be 17 years of age.
After his successful debut season in Australia, the next international venture on the calendar for Lawson is to represent New Zealand in the Road To Indy Scholarship Shootout in America early next month.
Lawson won an entry into the competition by winning the NZ F1600 championship, formerly Formula Ford, and will be among a group of invited international drivers from five continents to compete against the best young Americans for a $US200,000 prize purse.
The prize money is to assist a young driver on the path to a career in IndyCar racing, the category in which fellow Kiwi Scott Dixon has considerable success.
“We had two main goals at the start of this year. To compete in all rounds of the Australian Formula 4 championship and then go to America to contest the Road to Indy Shootout,” said Lawson.
“The F4 season all came together in the final round with some great results, so I really hope we can get to America and give the Shootout a really good go too.”
The race is now on to raise the funds for Lawson to attend the Mazda Road To Indy Scholarship Shootout at the Bondurant Racing School near Phoenix, Arizona, December 9-10.
At the end of two days of intense competition just one of the 20 drivers will be awarded the cash prize, to be put towards a racing programme for 2018.
Lawson is busy raising donations towards his travel and competition costs and has details and regular updates on his Facebook page, Liamlawson30.
“The fund-raising is going well. Friends and supporters, and people I don’t even know have made donations [to the bank account],” added Lawson.
“There’s still a way to go, but hopefully I’ll get to represent New Zealand at the Shootout.
Motorsport in New Zealand is on a high at present with Brendan Hartley making it into Formula One, Scott Dixon at the top in Indycars and several Kiwi drivers at the pointy end of V8 Supercar racing. Many motorsport pundits are picking Lawson to be the next rising star to perform on the international stage.
“I don’t know what next year holds yet. It’s a very expensive sport to reach the point where you’re a professional driver so I’ll keep doing my best and see where it takes me. I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve had so far and we’ll just see what options there are if I can get to America,” he said.