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Formula 2 driver Liam Lawson’s 2022 racing season has been bolstered by a $100,000 cash injection thanks to the Tony Quinn Foundation (TQF).

Lawson (19) is the first international driver to benefit from the foundation, which was established last year to assist young Kiwi drivers on the global stage.

In its first year TQF was committing $300,000 to scholarships and race categories in New Zealand, including the Toyota Racing Series, the Toyota 86 Scholarship, and Formula Ford in New Zealand.

TQF trustee and Highlands Motorsport Park owner Tony Quinn said Lawson had proven to be “quite a talent”.

“He has that special sparkle in his eye.”

It was at the Cromwell race track where Lawson first caught the eye of not only Quinn, but also Red Bull F1 racing adviser Dr Helmut Marko which led to the young Kiwi driver signing a Red Bull junior contract.

“Liam is already a real inspiration for young Kiwi drivers and the Tony Quinn Foundation, though Highlands, is pleased to support his final push to reach F1,” Quinn said.

Foundation trustee and Highlands chief execute Josie Spillane agreed, saying Lawson demonstrated the qualities young drivers needed to reach the higher levels of international motorsport.

“His journey so far is one of sacrifice, dedication and total commitment,” she said.

V8 Supercar driver and TQF trustee Greg Murphy said Lawson had a promising career ahead of him.

“To make it to the top echelon of motorsport is a challenge that most drivers can’t overcome, but personally, I think Liam has all the ingredients to be a F1 World Champion, so to be able to support his journey towards this through the [foundation] is incredibly rewarding and a real thrill to be a part of,” Murphy said.

Although Lawson is largely supported by Red Bull and Rodin Cars, there are still significant costs he must meet for travel, training, coaching and accommodation costs while he lives in the United Kingdom and races in Europe.

Lawson heads to the UK later this month where he will be based as he races throughout Europe in the FIA Formula 2 Championship.

Speaking to The News from Auckland, Lawson said he was “extremely grateful” for the support from TQF and Highlands.

“Without this support, I wouldn’t be able to do this.

“It’s a very, very important part of our budget – not just the racing, but also the living costs,” he said.

It was a big season ahead for Lawson with a new team – he switched from Hitech Grand Prix to Carlin – as he continued his quest to race in Formula 1.

But of all the tracks in the world to race, Highlands was still his favourite.

“Highlands is my favourite track, hands down, in the whole world. It’s really, really exciting to drive.

“I drove Highlands for the first time in 2019 and since then I’ve always loved to go back there.

“Tony certainly knows how to build a good track so I enjoy that place a lot.”