Race driver, 16, now road legal

23:21, Jan 09 2014
Liam MacDonald
Southland Sports Car Club champion Liam MacDonald.

Sixteen-year-old Southlander Liam MacDonald will line up on the grid in one of New Zealand's motorsport's premier race classes - the NZV8 Touring Cars - at Teretonga this weekend, just days after getting his driver's licence.

Like so many young up and coming racing drivers, MacDonald has already accumulated a wealth of experience on the race track but until today did not have a driver's licence.

After starting out in the local Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Series in a small Nissan Coupe, MacDonald made his NZV8 Touring Car debut at Teretonga last January before contesting two more rounds of the series at Timaru and Pukekohe.

The teenager's driving made an immediate impression, securing some excellent results in the Discount Tyres Falcon and showing a maturity beyond his years.

MacDonald finished ninth in last year's championship despite missing two rounds.

He gained a best race result of a third place at Timaru and demonstrated his potential in no uncertain terms during the support races at the V8 Supercars support races at Pukekohe when, on an unfamiliar circuit, he stormed through the field picking up 12 spots in the second race of the weekend and then put in a similar performance in the final race despite being the youngest driver on the grid.

MacDonald and his team were busy unloading the Falcon in readiness for Round 2 of the 2013/2014 NZ Touring Car Championship at Teretonga today but earlier in the day the Invercargill student had been busy - getting his driver's licence.

He had successfully negotiated his licence test in his grandmother's elderly Mitsubishi Lancer before celebrating by driving around town a couple of times.

He then headed for home to load up the big V8 Falcon ready for another weekend of motor racing. When the car arrived at the circuit he was at the wheel of the Ford Ute towing the race car.

After this weekend MacDonald hopes to compete in at least some other rounds of the championship although the team are finding sponsorship difficult to come by and are still seeking more support to allow him to compete.


The Southland Times