By Grant McDonald and Emma Hyde-Richards
Pukekohe’s Liam Lawson will be in Arizona this weekend among a 20-strong international driver line-up, all vying for the $US200,000 Road To Indy Scholarship prize package.
Liam can now finally pack his bags for America after Pukekoke Toyota offered their support by covering his air travel to Phoenix to represent New Zealand.
At 15 years old, Liam is the youngest of all the competitors. Champion drivers from nine countries have been invited to compete alongside America’s best, with Lawson’s invite coming after he won the NZ F1600 championship last summer, formerly known as Formula Ford.
Since also finishing runner-up in the Australian Formula 4 championship last month, Liam has been busy fundraising to make the journey to America. With time running out to confirm his entry, Pukekohe Toyota stepped in to cover his airfares.
Gavin Murdoch of Pukekohe Toyota says to be able to help Liam reach his goals is an investment for the future.
“We have some pretty special drivers that have come out of Pukekohe, including the likes of Possum Bourne and Greg Murphy, and now Liam has achieved some exceptional results. It is incredibly important to support local, and young, talent.”
“It isn’t easy, what he is doing, and quite often in this industry, money over rides talent, so every bit of assistance and support counts.”
The Road To Indy Shootout presented by Cooper Tires in the USA will be held at the Bondurant Racing School on December 9 and 10. The facility was once known as Firebird Raceway.
The programme can take a driver through three different open-wheel racing categories before reaching Indy Car racing, with the opportunity to win over $US1.5million worth of assistance along the way.
“I really cannot thank Gavin and the team at Pukekohe Toyota enough,” said Liam.
“I feel very humbled, and very blessed for this opportunity. I don’t particularly know what to expect, but the goal is to win, and I am going to give it my all.”
Scott Dixon is currently the only Kiwi driver to have made it to the top of American open-wheel racing.