Liam Lawson’s creditable placing within the top ten at the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix was a triumph for a first drive on the tricky street circuit. Interestingly, Lawson’s development pathway was underwritten by a Canterbury connection.
Lawson is a Red Bull Junior driver and is currently the Formula One reserve driver for both Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri. He was catapulted into a driving spot with AlphaTauri after veteran Daniel Ricciardo injured his hand in a crash prior to the Dutch Grand Prix.
The meteoric rise of the 21 year old New Zealand driver is partly due to support from high tech engineering firm Rodin Cars, based at Wandle Downs, near Mt. Lyford in North Canterbury. The firm continues to sponsor Lawson in 2023, having been his lead sponsor since 2021, when he was competing in Formula 2. Lawson’s relationship with Rodin first began back in 2018, when he tested the Formula 3 car of company founder and serial technology entrepreneur David Dicker.
Rodin Cars also has a partnership with the University of Canterbury Motorsport (UCM) team. The arrangement allows UCM students to gain valuable experience working on Rodin Cars projects, whilst providing Rodin Cars with a pipeline of willing and talented young engineers. The firm offers educational workshops for UC students covering a range of topics related to motorsport engineering. The students also receive opportunities to work on real-world motorsport projects.
With the recent acquisition of a stake in highly respected U.K. based Carlin racing team, the prospect of direct involvement by Rodin in Formula One comes a step closer. With a high performance street car already in production and clear aspirations of one day building and racing their own F1 car, Rodin Cars taps into some cutting edge technology to get the job done. 3D printing of components, active aerodynamics and super-lightweight materials are all wrapped around a high performance V10 engine that has been turning the heads of some well-heeled clients.
Thanks to Lawson’s success, the global profile of the company is sure to rise, along with future sales of the Rodin supercar. A perfect example of high end manufacturing and a smart global engagement strategy growing economic opportunities across our region.
Paul Spence is an advisor, strategist and content author with ThincLab Canterbury. Supported by ChristchurchNZ, ThincLab provides business growth support and advice to University of Canterbury ventures and high value emerging companies from around the Canterbury region.