13-year-old Christchurch racer Louis Sharp has won his first circuit race in just his second-ever outing. Whilst it’s a first for Sharp, it was a case of déjà vu for those who have been involved in Formula First recent years.
Sharp was driving the same Sabre Motorsport prepared car as kiwi FIA Formula 3 driver Liam Lawson, also 13-years old at the time, when he won his first circuit race in 2015. The dark-green SportSport Scholarship branded car has remained largely unchanged in its appearance since Lawson took it to victory.
The similarities don’t stop there either, both Sharp and Lawson ran the same race number (#30), won at the Manawatu Car Club’s Manfeild Winter Series and took their victories in the third and final race of the weekend.
Since his time in Formula First, Lawson has won the NZ Formula Ford Championship, Toyota Racing Series, New Zealand Grand Prix and enjoyed race wins across many other international championships. Most recently, Lawson took victory in Saturday’s FIA F3 feature race at the British Grand Prix.
Sharp, who earlier in 2020 was named as a recipient of the Repco Young Driver Scholarship Program which partners with Supercars powerhouse DJR Team Penske, has huge aspirations for his future too.
“It was awesome to cross the line first in just our second ever event,” said an elated Sharp.
“I’m really enjoying the step up to Formula First, it’s pretty cool to be racing the same car with the same livery and number as Liam Lawson did for his first win.
“We’re here to learn as much as we can and build a solid foundation to progress my career to whether that be following Liam’s footsteps in Europe or something else”
In fact, Sharp’s international aspirations were set to take a step forward in 2020 with the teen set to compete in the three-round, invitation-only, FIA Karting Academy Trophy Series. Unfortunately, restrictions due to COVID-19 meant Sharp couldn’t travel to Italy.
The Manfeild Winter Series serves as the unofficial pre-season series for the NZ Formula First Championship. The series is held across four events at Manfeild in preparation for the Championship which has seen the likes of Scott Dixon, Brendon Hartley, Liam Lawson, Shane van Gisbergen, Nick Cassidy, Mitch Evans and many other successful drivers kickstart their careers.