Lawson makes it 20 who complete the road from TRS to F1
Confirmation from Alpha Tauri boss Franz Tost that Liam Lawson will test for the team at the annual post season Abu Dhabi test in December means the up and coming Kiwi will be the 20th graduate of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series to take part in an official F1 test or race weekend.
Bigger still was news that Lawson - the 2019 Castrol TRS champion - will also be a major part of the team's junior driver F1 free practice programme which is mandatory for all teams from next season as part of a big raft of rule changes.
All teams must run non-race drivers in one of the two free practice sessions at Grand Prix events in 2022 and that will include young drivers who have a suitable licence grade to test an F1 car, but who have so far not been able to get any significant mileage.
"It will be a big weekend for Liam at the Yas Marina Circuit when the post season test takes place," said TGRNZ Motorsport Manager and TRS Category Manager Nicolas Caillol.
"There's no question he's had a fantastic 2021 so far with some great performances in FIA Formula 2 and a genuinely superlative first season in the DTM where he has outshone team mate and 2022 Williams F1 driver Alex Albon. Next year will be really important for Liam and the significance of being part of the new 2022 car testing programme is of course huge as F1's new era begins. We are delighted for him."
The 2022 testing rules mean drivers who run in the sessions can earn an additional point per Grand Prix towards their F1 Super Licence, providing they complete at least 100km.
It may not sound like a lot, but those extra points could prove crucial as young drivers bid to secure the 40 required across three seasons before being granted a Super Licence. The Castrol Toyota Racing Series also secures Super Licence points for its top championship performers.
Lando Norris, Lance Stroll, Nicolas Latifi, Nikita Mazepin and Yuki Tsunoda are all former TRS racers currently competing in F1. Graduates have also forged careers in Indycar, the World Endurance Championship, GT competition and the Australia Supercars.