Max Coates got his first chance to test his G40 Junior ahead of the 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship at the recent Ginetta Media Day. The day saw the drivers given three 25-minute sessions around the Silverstone National circuit and www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk caught up with Coates at the end of the day to see how it went and how he's feeling ahead of the season.

2011 sees two changes to the G40 model, with the introduction of a sequential gearbox and cut slick tyres. The test gave him his first taste of the changes, as he explains: “We've started testing with the new gearbox and tyre. It's a bit different and I'm starting to get used to it really. This is the first time I've been out in the car since the Winter Series.”

Coates admits to being frustrated with his lack of running over the winter: “To be honest with you, I've tried to almost not think about it by doing other things but it is annoying and I'd like to be out more than I am.”

As his track time has been limited, he has been keeping busy doing other things to prepare for the season: “We've been working hard on the team infrastructure, trying to get the team set up to facilitate what we want to do and then just keeping myself fit.”

With it being his first time testing the new parts, Coates admits he struggled to get used to them at first: “The gearbox has been one of the big things and also the tyres, I need to go away and look at how to warm them up well. That seems to be quite a major issue that I learnt very quickly in that last session. I had a little spin on the second lap going into Brooklands; it was just cold tyres and me trying to push too hard too soon. But you learn from your mistakes and you can only get better from doing that.”

He is looking to get some more track time before the season starts: “We've only two or three weeks now. I've got the British Schools Karting Championship Final so that's going to keep me sharp, but in terms of getting out in the Ginetta, hopefully I can get out anywhere local and get a bit of time in the seat.”

Looking ahead to the new season, he knows he needs to be at the front from the start if he is to enjoy the success he wants this season: “I think we need to be to mount a serious title challenge, you can't really lapse at the start of the season, you need to get into it straight away and go.

“Judging by today we should be up there by the time it comes to race day at Brands Hatch, there's still a lot of time between now and then. Were a little bit off the pace at the moment but we're not too worried about that because I know we can get there.”

Coates is looking forward to the first round and the tight, exciting racing the Ginetta Juniors produces: “It's always close with equal cars. Ginetta are doing dyno checks today to ensure that is the case and because of that everybody's going to be somewhere near. I can't see the field being split, especially at Brands Hatch Indy, by much more than a couple of seconds.”