Pukekohe teen on fast track to motorsport stardom
The 13-year-old from Pukekohe High School became the youngest-equal winner of New Zealand’s premiere young driver development program, on a weekend when three of its most successful previous winners tasted international glory.
Liam was a leading contender for the $50,000 prize package from the moment the elimination rounds started at the Manfeild race circuit and put in a commanding performance both on and off track to win the scholarship on its 15th anniversary.
“Liam showed an ability beyond his years and we’re confident we’ve discovered another very special young driver,” says SpeedSport Scholarship co-founder Dennis Martin. The Pukekohe teenager started karting at the Mt Wellington track in Auckland when he was seven-years-old, winning a host of national titles along the way. He is the same age as 2001 winner Nic Jordan.
The runner-up prize was won by Ari Pettigrew, 16, from Rangiora who came to the scholarship from a background in grass karting. The weekend was made even more special for the SpeedSport Scholarship founders with triple NZ Grand Prix winner and TRS champion Nick Cassidy winning a Formula 3 race in Japan, V8 Supercar star Shane van Gisbergen drove his team’s factory McLaren to victory at Silverstone, England and GP2 rookie Richie Stanaway won the Formula One support race at the Monaco Grand Prix and dedicated his win to the SpeedSport Scholarship.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend on our anniversary,” said Martin, whose Sabre Motorsport team run the winner in the New Zealand Formula First championship.
Liam will begin his car racing career in two weeks time when he lines up for the Manfeild Winter Series as preparation for the national series later in the year.
The SpeedSport Scholarship winner receives an all-expenses-paid year racing 12 events in a Formula First car under the guidance and tuition of Martin, including the Manfeild Winter Series and the New Zealand Formula First championship. Since you’re here… we have a small favour to ask. More and more people want the Post than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Post’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. With investigative reporting, we often don't know at the beginning how a story will unfold and how long it might take to uncover. This can mean it is costly – particularly as we often face legal threats that attempt to stop our reporting. But we remain committed to raising important questions and exposing wrongdoing. And we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too. If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as NZ$5, you can support the Post – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Support The Post