Liam Lawson Wins Scholarship for NZ Toyota 86 Championship

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Pukekohe student Liam Lawson will be the CareVets Racing Team’s scholarship driver in the coming 2017-2018 NZ Toyota 86 Championship.

“It’s a real honour to be selected, the scholarship has been a fast track for the drivers chosen in past seasons and I’m looking forward to racing in a two-car, professionally run team like this,” Lawson said.

Though he is just 15 years old, Lawson is a young man in a hurry. He is currently second overall in the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship with two rounds remaining.

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Still a student at Pukekohe High School, Lawson stepped up from karting with a string of race, event and championship wins to his name and moved into NZ Formula First in 2015 then to winning pace in NZ Formula Ford a year later.

In the scholarship test day at Hampton Downs earlier this week, Lawson was up against nine other hopeful racers. He had his sights set on winning the drive from the first test – but struck an early setback on the day.

“First up we had to run the track – and running just isn’t my thing. I can cycle or do gym work or whatever but I can’t run,” Lawson said.

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Fearing the run challenge may have harmed his prospects, Lawson redoubled his efforts in the remaining fitness tests and the other off-track challenges including a media interview.

“I hadn’t ever done any media training so that was interesting too, but I’ve had a camera in my face at every round of the Aussie F4 championship so I’m familiar with how it works,” he said.

Once in the car, Lawson said, the day gelled and he could enjoy the challenge of driving the Toyota 86 sports coupe race car at competitive pace.

“It’s very different from single-seaters, because the power steering takes some getting used to and it’s not as easy to feel what the front of the car is doing – but the cars are so nicely balanced that it’s relatively easy to get dialled in and go fast,” Lawson said.