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HomeNewsF1 reserve Lawson credits career to Payne

F1 reserve Lawson credits career to Payne

KIWI Supercars young gun Matt Payne has received plenty of plaudits at Albert Park following podium finishes in the opening two races and a career-first pole position.

But his biggest praise comes from Red Bull Formula 1 reserve driver Liam Lawson, who has credited his career to the inspiration and guidance of his childhood friend.

Payne, 21, and Lawson, 22, grew up on the same street in Pukekohe, New Zealand, and remain close friends today.

The former has developed into a Supercars star, while the latter made his F1 debut as an injury substitute for Daniel Ricciardo last year and is now a reserve, waiting for another chance.

Payne’s family has a long history in motorsport, his father racing speedway before Matthew was born and his uncle competing in rallying, but the Lawsons had no prior experience in the sport.

Lawson is awaiting more F1 opportunities. Pic: Supplied

“Matthew is arguably the reason I’m a racing driver,” Lawson told Fox Sports’ Jess Yates of Payne.

“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.

“But 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.

“So, he was probably six years old, and we went and watched him, and that was basically how we knew what the sport was and that’s how I got into it.

“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.

“I was in my hotel room in Abu Dhabi last year watching his race win in Adelaide, so it’s pretty cool, he’s doing really well.”

Lawson had a glimpse of Payne’s world on Thursday at Albert Park when he drove a Supercar for the first time, taking passenger laps in the spare Blanchard Racing Team Mustang.

That came through the Ford/Red Bull tie-up, which also had Lawson behind the wheel of the SuperVan 4.2 at last weekend’s Adelaide Motorsport Festival.

Lawson aboard the Gen3 Mustang on Thursday. Pic: Supplied

“I saw him on Thursday,” noted Payne of Lawson.

“He drove the Supercar, which I only knew a day prior, so I was texting him about what he’s going to reckon, and he really enjoyed it, which was really cool.

“It’s cool to see him driving all these different cars.

“Even the SuperVan was seriously awesome, so it’s awesome to catch up with him and invite him over to see what we do with the Supercars. I think he really likes it.”

Although Lawson is firmly focused on breaking his way into Formula 1, he told the Supercars website that he’s keen to tackle the Bathurst 1000.

“A co-driver thing would be amazing to do if I could jump in one day. That’s definitely the dream,” he said.

“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.”

Asked if that could come as soon as this year, he added: “Right now I’m not really racing… hey, anything’s possible.”

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