Grand prix, series to Lawson

Liam Lawson at Manfeild yesterday after winning the New Zealand Grand Prix  and  Toyota Racing...
Liam Lawson at Manfeild yesterday after winning the New Zealand Grand Prix and Toyota Racing Series. Photo: Simon Chapman
LIiam Lawson is the New Zealand Grand Prix winner and Toyota Racing Series champion after a dramatic finale at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon yesterday  afternoon  in  Manawatu.

In a race peppered by safety cars, race stoppages and penalties, Lawson (16) emerged through it all to take both prizes.  A devastated Marcus Armstrong was given a 5sec penalty for a move on Lawson during the race, but it proved to be academic. Once Lawson had established himself in second place late on after the third race restart, there was nothing Armstrong could do to prevent Lawson winning the series on points. He tried his best to win the grand prix with a series of super-fast laps as he tried find the 5sec he needed to mitigate his penalty, but Lawson responded and Armstrong, for the second year in a row at the grand prix, was left with only crumbs.

After the race, Lawson sought out Armstrong in the garages to console him after an epic championship that put the firmly on the motorsport radar as the best series in the world at this time of year for up-and-coming single-seater racers. Rivalries aside, it was a touching gesture from one star of the future to another.

"It was a weird race and I reckon I fluked the start as I have been having a few issues with those throughout the season, but it all came together and I had already made the move I needed to secure the championship when I heard about Marcus’ penalty on the radio.

"I was racing with the championship in mind so to end up winning the grand prix is very special. I was a bit emotional on the warm-down lap. People were on the radio and I was getting some lovely messages. It’s very special.

"I have enjoyed racing with Marcus and although there’s a rivalry on track, we’ve become friends during the series and I can understand how disappointed he was after the race. It’s been a great championship, however, and he’s been a huge part of that."

Kazuto Kotaka claimed the final spot on the podium followed by Raoul Hyman, Esteban Muth, Brendon Leitch, Parker Locke and the amazing Kenny Smith (77) rounding out the finishers.

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