Pukekohe teenager Liam Lawson has won the Toyota Racing Series after winning the 64th New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild in Feilding.
In a race peppered by safety cars, race stoppages and penalties, Lawson emerged through it all to take both prizes.
A devastated Marcus Armstrong was given a five second penalty for a move on Lawson during the race, but it proved to be academic.
Once Lawson had established himself in second place late on after the third race restart, there was nothing Armstrong could do to prevent Lawson winning the series on points.
He tried his best to win the Grand Prix with a series of super-fast laps as he tried to find the five seconds he needed to mitigate his penalty, but Lawson responded and Armstrong, for the second year in a row, was left with only crumbs.
After the race, Lawson sought out Armstrong in the garages to console him after an epic title race.
“It was a weird race and I reckon I fluked the start as I have been having a few issues with those throughout the season, but it all came together and I had already made the move I needed to secure the championship when I heard about Marcus’s penalty on the radio,” Lawson said.
“I was racing with the championship in mind so to end up winning the Grand Prix is very special. I was a bit emotional on the warm down lap. People were on the radio and I was getting some lovely messages. It’s very special.
“I have enjoyed racing with Marcus and although there’s a rivalry on track, we’ve become friends during the series and I can understand how disappointed he was after the race. It’s been a great championship, however, and he’s been a huge part of that.”
Only eight cars finished the Grand Prix after the most incident-packed race of the 15 race championship.