The upcoming major karting meetings in Auckland and Hamilton have received a second major boost with Liam Lawson joining fellow FIA Formula 2 driver Marcus Armstrong on the start grid.
Organisers have confirmed that the Pool and Spa Maintenance City of Sails two-day event in Auckland this weekend and the APL Window Solutions CIK Trophy of New Zealand in Hamilton next weekend will proceed, and will be staged strictly under the red traffic light system for covid protocols.
While no spectators will be allowed unfortunately, organisers are planning live streaming.
Lawson, who turns 20 next month, like Armstrong, has developed into world class single seater drivers through karting.
Before heading back overseas in two weeks, Lawson is keen to get some driving time back on the kart tracks as well as support the sport that helped him to develop as one of the world’s best young drivers.
Lawson, from Pukekohe, will compete in the KZ2 class at the events which form part of the new KartStars Series. Both events also incorporate rounds of the 2022 ROK Cup NZL series which offers the series winners prize drives at the annual ROK Cup Superfinal in Italy in October.
“This will be amazing for karting in New Zealand to have these two outstanding international drivers back where they started,” said KartSport New Zealand president, Graeme Moore.
“They are both keen to give something back to the sport that helped develop them as among the world’s best young motor race drivers.
“Young karters racing over the next two weeks will be able to see up-close what makes them so successful and I am sure both Liam and Marcus will be happy to share their knowledge and experience with the next echelon of young karters.”
Lawson competed in the Auckland event last year with success, winning all 10 races he entered.
“I don’t expect another 10 out of 10 this year. I’m doing KZ2 class this time which will be a lot harder,” said Lawson.
“One of the highlights of last year was doing the City of Sails with some of the best racing you can have in a kart.
“It’s really cool having Marcus entered. I never really drove against him back in the day in karts, so I’m excited to race with him. It’s cool for the event to have both of us there. Just a pity there’s no spectators.
“It’s cool that Marcus got home as well. We both got a spot in MIQ on the same week of releases so we were both pretty excited about that. We arrived home one day apart.”
Lawson started in karting at seven years old, and won his first national title when he was 10, and competed with success at national level. He moved into FIA Formula 4 in 2018, and moved to F3 finishing fifth with three wins in 2020 before earning a seat in Formula 2 in 2021 enjoying a break through win to finish ninth overall as well as runner-up in the German Touring Masters.
This year he moves to the British team Carlin which compete in IndyCars, Le Man Series in Europe and Asia, and junior championships in FIA Formula 2 and Formula 3.
Organisers had prepared for all eventualities, including the red light system for covid restrictions, with competitors and support in groups of 100, and will be escorted on and off the track in their specific groups.