Max Coates - Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Max Coates - Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Since my last blog I've had a busy time.  Until last week the majority of time has been split between finding sponsorship for the coming season and school work.  On the sponsorship side of things I have been able to confirm continued partnerships with RGPS, Lightwater Valley and Harron Homes and am still in discussion with various sponsors from last year to continue our partnerships forward.  I now have backing from YourRacingCar.com who have chosen me as their driver to support for the season.  I am sure that I will be confirming a few more sponsors before racing commences at the end of the month.

Also on the subject of confirming plans for the forthcoming season I am pleased to say that I will race in the Ginetta G50 part of the Ginetta GT Supercup with RedBrick Racing who raced in the last two rounds of the championship last year with pole's, a podium and a fastest lap at the last meeting at Silverstone.  The team are based at Melton Mowbray and are the racing arm of Tracktive solutions.

I have also launched my new website – www.maxcoatesracing.co.uk as we prepare for the new season.  As a driver it is so important to have a website that allows people to learn more about you.  At the moment there are a few pages to finish and a couple of small issues to sort out but essentially the website is up and running successfully.  It had over 400 views on its first day.

Since my last blog my on track and more exciting ventures have been limited, mainly happening all in the last week.  The first part of the week was a trip to the lakes to join Team UK in a military toughness test.  The name says it all, it was quite possibly the hardest physical and mental challenge I will encounter in my life.  The event spanned 36 hours and was based around a navigational exercise which saw us hike, cycle and kayak around the Lake Windermere, Coniston and Grizedale areas.  We started with a kit check, everyone didn't have the right kit, and if I'm honest I think the organisers were being picky to ensure we all got a punishment.  Mine was uphill sit-ups and then press ups with my hands in Lake Windermere.

After the kit check we were split into two groups and we had a navigation lecture explaining how to use a map and compass.  We then had a couple of hours hiking across to the mountain biking centre.  We picked up the mountain bikes and got going on a trail through the Grizedale forest region.  The trails were fantastic with loads of off-road routes.  The overall distance was between 20km and 30km.  We then got back on our feet and went hiking for the rest of the day until about 10:30pm.  In this part of the exercise we were introduced to a new team member – Eddie the Equaliser- a big bag that carried our food and cooking equipment for the next two days as well as any extra items we needed.  Myself, Mark Donnelly and James Wozencroft shared the bag carrying duties between us.  After a bite to eat we thought we would be getting a bit of sleep, which was not the case, we were handed a list of instructions to plan our next hike.  Our estimated finish time was 8:10am, without any sleep.  We got lost a couple of times on the Old Man of Coniston before we met up with the other group at about 3:00am.  We went up the mountain and then back down it into Coniston itself as conditions wouldn't allow us to walk along the top.  We got back to camp at 6am to set up our tarpaulin that covered our heads.  We awoke at 8:30am to pack our accommodation away and to be ready for breakfast and the next activity at 9am.  We then set of hiking until mid-afternoon and were led to the Burness Canoe and Kayak shop.  Our planned route was over 30km picking up the checkpoints along the way.  The other team pulled out of this activity early and we carried on into the night.  We were told to finish after 16km of paddling.

The following night and day was full of finding new bruises, pains and aches but the experience had taught me a lot about myself, my courage and the way I communicate and act towards people in a whole mannerism of different situations.  I am sure that this will help me to communicate with all people in my team throughout the remainder of my career.

After getting back from the Lakes midday Sunday I set off for the Ginetta media day on Monday at Silverstone.  My Dad and I stayed in a Travelodge just down the road but went to a local premier inn to eat meeting a lot of faces from Ginetta and the racing community.

Max in action on board the Ginetta G50

Max in action on board the Ginetta G50 - Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Monday was the first chance for me to get out in the Ginetta G50.  My first experience of the car was good, my times were a long way off but that was expected due to the conditions on track and the temperature.  The second session later in the afternoon was far better and I got down to a time close to that set in the meeting at the end of last year.  I was happy with the power, aerodynamics and tires by the end of the day but just had to get to grips with the bigger and more powerful brakes which allow you to brake later and from a higher speed than in the G40 junior.  I really enjoyed the day and it was good to meet the team who were very professional.

Tuesday was back to college and Wednesday saw me go to a track day at Oulton Park with a friend and my Dad in a BMW.  We had a blast and it was great to take my Dad around the track.  I was able to learn from taking him round, our very contrasting driving styles work for different corners so being able to watch him drive and then drive myself under his instruction was very beneficial.

On Thursday I got some A level grades back.  Education is a very important part of motorsport, unfortunately the majority of aspiring racing drivers don't ever become a 'professional' and having grades to fall back on is important.  My grades were very pleasing, I am on track to get two A*'s and an A/B as well as getting my Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence from Loughborough College and the MSA.

I am not sure if I will get out in a car again before the first meeting at Brands Hatch, I will fill you all in on what happens there in my next entry.

Until then, all the best.

Max