Kiwi FIA Formula 3 race winner Liam Lawson says winning the 2019 Castrol Toyota Racing Series was one of the most significant highlights of his motorsport career, as it paved the way towards a Red Bull Junior position.
Lawson edged out fellow New Zealander and current Formula 2 driver Marcus Armstrong for the crown in a season which was only determined in a final race showdown. Both challengers were mostly exceptional over the year, capturing five race wins apiece and trading the points lead at multiple points.
Along with his championship victory, Lawson also secured the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild.
His performances throughout an impressive rookie campaign earned the respect of the motorsport paddock and just hours after clinching the title Red Bull signed him to their Junior programme.
“About 12 hours after winning the TRS I had what I would say is the second biggest moment of my career, which was signing my deal with Red Bull – a dream of mine since I was a kid,” Lawson told the official F3 website when asked about which moments of his career meant the most to him.
“It was the morning after I had won the TRS and it was my birthday as well. So, you could not have written it [any better].
“Being a Red Bull junior was something that I thought was really cool. When I was growing up, Red Bull was my favourite team.
“I was a big fan of Lewis Hamilton, but in terms of an actual team, I always liked Red Bull and I never thought that it would be possible to join the programme, so that was pretty crazy.”
Lawson revealed that overcoming a season-long battle with Armstrong proved difficult and it put volumes of pressure on him which he had yet to have experienced.
“I won the championship in 2019 and it was really, really tough,” he said.
“It went down to the last race. I think that I went into the last race with just two or three points separating Marcus and me and I won it on that final day.
“I drove in German Formula 4 that year as well, which was pretty much just young drivers – like myself – all making their way up, whereas TRS was a mixture of different drivers from all sorts of other championships.
“Marcus was one of those, and it was tough going up against someone with that level of experience.
“There was also Lucas Auer, who was driving for the same team as me, and it was cool for me to be able to learn from these guys.
“Every single weekend was an absolute battle and I had to deal with pressure that I had never really faced before.”
As a Red Bull Junior, Lawson has spent two seasons in F3 with his 2020 championship yielding three race wins and a fifth place in the standings.
As already reported by Velocity News, a promotion to F2 for Lawson is becoming increasingly more likely with his Hitech GP team set to lose current F2 driver Nikita Mazepin to Haas F1 next year.