U.S. Marine Sgt. Liam Dwyer to drive Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 in 2014
Freedom Autosport is proud to welcome U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Liam Dwyer to the team for 2014. Dwyer will be driving select rounds of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series with Tom Long in the No. 27 Mazda MX-5.
Dwyer, 32, has competed in SCCA, NASA and vintage racing. In 2013, the Bethesda, Maryland, resident earned numerous race wins, pole positions and track records. He accomplished all of it while racing with a prosthetic left leg, the result of an IED explosion during his deployment to Afghanistan. Dwyer joins Matt Pombo as one of the two veterans driving with Freedom Autosport this year.
As a longtime supporter of those who serve in the U.S. military and a promoter of the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, Dwyer is a welcome addition to the team. He will make his pro racing debut with a trio of events:
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif., May 2-3 Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn., May 23-24 Virginia International Raceway, Alton, Va., August 22-23
“I wish I had a vocabulary big enough to describe my enthusiasm and excitement for this!” says Dwyer. “I’m thrilled about this opportunity. Freedom Autosport is obviously dedicated to veterans and making sure veterans are taken care of at the track. This isn’t possible without Mazda, Freedom Autosport and Long Road Racing.”
Dwyer joined the Marines in October of 2000, inspired to sign up when he heard the news about the bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole. He started boot camp at Parris Island in January of 2001 and was later deployed to Iraq. While there, Dwyer was the turret gunner of a Humvee when it was hit by an IED. The left side of his body was peppered with shrapnel.
Dwyer recovered from his injuries and returned to civilian life until a Major he had worked with called one day and asked him to join a special team for Afghanistan. Dwyer re-enlisted, and in May of 2011 he was searching a compound in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED. It took off his left leg, and Dwyer had severe injuries to his other limbs as well as shrapnel in his abdomen and torso. Four other Marines were also injured in the explosion.
Now, Dwyer has a prosthesis that begins above his left knee, but that has not stopped him from pursuing the racing career he began after his deployment to Iraq. Dwyer keeps contact with the clutch pedal via a bracket and Velcro strap, enabling him to race without needing any hand controls or additional modifications.
In addition to his own racing, Dwyer wants to get other veterans involved, too. “I hope that I can motivate other veterans and amputees to get out and do this. I hope to be a liaison between them and racing to show them this is possible,” he says.
Dwyer will be at the season opener at Daytona International Raceway with Freedom Autosport, and he will continue testing and club racing in preparation for his IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge debut during round three at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, May 2-3