CHAMPION AND WORLD BEATER!

Pukekohe teenager Liam Lawson gave himself the best possible birthday present on Saturday, and with it, rewrote motorsport history.

Liam, who turned 15 on the day, not only won the New Zealand F1600 Championship in his rookie season, but also became the youngest ever champion for that category, in the world.

Raced globally for the past 50 years as Formula Ford, Liam lowered the world age record by eight months and deposed fellow Kiwi driver Andre Heimgartner, now a V8 Supercar driver, as the world record holder.

 “It’s the best birthday present ever!” said Liam, after clinching the title in the season’s most exciting race. A three-way battle for the lead saw the youngster swopping the lead on every lap before passing Christchurch’s Michael Collins on the last corner to take the win.”

“We set our sights on trying to win the title this season and it’s gone way better than we ever expected.”

“None of this would have been possible if Carl from Cyrus International Cargo hadn’t provided me with the car. My dad who’s spent endless hours working on the car, towing it up and down the country to all the rounds, Nigel at New Zealand Childcare Finance and Michael and Kevin who have been so supportive behind the scenes. This title is for us all. A great team effort,” he said.

Liam has totally dominated the season. Taking pole position at every round after recording the fastest lap in the pre-race circuits. He was only beaten once on his road to the championship title, when he was hit by another competitor while leading and fought back to finish in second place.

So what’s next for the world record setting champion?

“There’s a few ideas but nothing certain. I just want to enjoy this moment. I still find what we’ve achieved, hard to believe and to have some of my school friends come down from Pukekohe to watch was really special.”

Liam continued his unbeaten run over the final two races of the season to end with 14 wins and a second over the 15 championship races.

The title win also gives Liam the chance to contest the $US200,000 shootout for the Road To Indy programme in America at the end of the year.

The championship finale ran as a support class to the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild, Fielding.

Photo by: Geoff Ridder