Lawson credits racing career to mate Payne

31 Mar
'I've known him since I was two years old… we grew up racing each other'
  • Liam Lawson credits racing career to Matt Payne

  • Young Kiwi duo grew up on same street in Pukekohe

  • Lawson made F1 debut in place of injured Daniel Ricciardo last year

Rising Kiwi racing star Liam Lawson has credited childhood friend Matt Payne with his motorsport career.

Lawson and Payne, now racing stars in their own right, grew up on the same street in Pukekohe, New Zealand.

The two remain close friends, with the duo catching up at last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, where Payne was a front-runner in Supercars.

However, where Payne’s family had a background in motorsport, Lawson was motivated to follow his mate’s footsteps, leading to a future at the top of the sport.

“Matthew is arguably the reason I’m a racing driver,” Lawson said in a Fox Sports interview during the AGP weekend.

payne adelaide podium 2023

“The passion for the sport and cars in general I was born with, but my family… I didn’t have a racing background — it wasn’t like my parents knew what to do with that.

“I went to pre-school with Matthew, so I've known him since I was two years old, and he started go-karts just when we went to primary school.

“We grew up racing each other. Every single category growing up in go-karts, went to primary school together, and it’s pretty cool because he’s sort of made it in Supercars.”

Lawson watched on from Abu Dhabi last year as Payne won in Adelaide.

Before Payne chased Supercars, Lawson engineered him to third in the 2021 New Zealand Grand Prix, which was won by Shane van Gisbergen.

courtney lawson brt ford 2024 1

Payne has returned in 2024 and already has two podiums and a maiden pole to his name, and now heads to New Zealand as a leading contender to win in Taupo.

The AGP weekend was a big one for Lawson himself, who got behind the wheel of a Blanchard Racing Team Supercar.

While Formula 1 is the end goal, Lawson didn’t rule out a Bathurst 1000 berth one day.

"Yeah, like a co-driver thing would be amazing to do if I could jump in one day. That's definitely the dream," Lawson said after his BRT laps.

"Obviously every driver has their bucket list races that they want to do, and Bathurst has been something that I've grown up watching. So, I would love to do it.”

Payne’s Supercars campaign continues at the ITM Taupo Super400 on April 19-21.

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