Max Coates won the G50 class of the Ginetta GT Supercup in all three Donington Park Races (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

Max Coates won the G50 class of the Ginetta GT Supercup in all three Donington Park Races (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

So since my last blog we have had the first two meetings of the Ginetta GT Supercup, they have gone really well.

We started with Brands and the Friday test was only the second time I had been in the car, the first session went well and I ended up 7 tenths off the pace.  I managed to pay for the 'extra session' by working in the local shop and so we headed out for the first time on a new set of tyres.  This time I shaved a few tenths of my lap time to get to within 4 tenths of the ultimate pace.  I found a couple of tenths in the third and final session of the day but was happy with the set-up and feeling of the car.

Qualifying was next up and I set my best time of the weekend so far.  I did a few extra laps because I felt so good in the car and got to within two tenths of pole; I felt like I could have done it and probably stayed out too long.  I came in the pits with a few minutes to go and found out I was two tenths off pole, in the hope I could improve I set off out of the pits but couldn't beat my time.  I was happy with 3rd and was looking forward to my first race.

I got a bad start, my foot stuck on the brake and I didn't move.  Before I knew it I was miles back and I went into the first corner 4th.  I was comfortable and knew I had the pace to challenge Rob Gaffney and Louise Richardson in front.  I was waiting for my tires to come in but they never felt like they did.  When we got back to the pits we found the rear anti roll bar had snapped.  I lost a position late on in the race and then got a 5 second penalty for exceeding track limits, I was struggling with front grip due to the broken anti roll bar.

I was gutted but knew that starting from the back in the second race meant I could only go forward.  I made a much better start but I don't think I passed anyone.  Eventually I found myself in second place and fighting for the lead.  Ian Parsons, who was leading, looked to be struggling with rear grip and he ran wide at Druids.  I got the pass in and defended for the remainder of the race to take my first TOCA package win.

The third race finished before it began, the gearbox broke on the out lap and I didn't make the start despite RedBrick Racing trying as hard as they could to find the problem and get me out.

Max Coates, Brands Hatch (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

After a class win in race two a gearbox failure meant no score from the final Brands race (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

I was gutted to leave Brands Hatch in 6th place in the championship having won a race and showed good pace, I was happy with the car and team and was looking forward to getting back out at Donington.

I left for the gadget show on Wednesday morning for a day out with my Brother; I knew that there was the chance that I could be driving to Donington after the show, failing that I would be driving home.  It all kicked off at about 1 'o' clock and a crazy stream of events followed that allowed me to race that weekend.  It wouldn't have been possible without a few people stepping into help me out but we got the deal to race and off we went.

1st practice went quite badly if I'm honest.  It was damp and we elected the slick tyres, it was the right decision but I didn't want to crash the car and cause lots of damage so I took it steady.  I built my speed up but was never going to be the fastest.

The second session was dry and I was a lot happier in the car, I got to a 1m 12.1 just 4 tenths off the fastest G50. I was quite happy with the knowledge that others had new tires and I didn't so I was looking forward to qualifying.  I put in a best lap of a 1m 11.4 on the new tires, that's three tenths faster than the pole time last year.  It put me second on the grid.

I passed Louise on the way into the first corner and Rob went round the outside of me.  I got him back down the craner curves and pulled out a 5 second lead pretty quickly.  From lap 4 onwards I started to conserve tires and manage the gap back to second, I won by three seconds but once I had the gap it was mine to lose.

The second race was somewhat harder; I really had to work for it.  We had the G55 of Marcus Hoggarth to contend with and that made racing very difficult.  I had to re-pass Marcus to catch and stay with Rob who was leading but eventually I found a way through into the last corner.  I got past once down the Craners but he re-passed me at Old Hairpin.  Once I was in the lead I tried to pull away, I'm not sure how much I won by but once I was in front there was no looking back.  I just focussed on catching the G55 ahead and ensured I didn't lose the lead.

Max Coates, Donington Park (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

Despite early success budget worries may keep Max out of the Thruxton races (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

I got a similarly bad start in the 3rd race and got swamped by Mark Davies and Rob.  Mark got away when the G55's came past me and Rob.  I managed to get past Rob and started to catch Mark when Fergus Walkingshaw past him at the old hairpin putting him wide.  I got through on the run up to McLean's and held onto the lead for the remainder despite having to battle G55's that we're racing between themselves and unlapping themselves.  It made it really difficult because every time I pulled away a G55 got in the way and held me up when they passed.  I won the race and was chuffed to have done the hatrick.

Donington couldn't have gone any better for me really, a fastest lap and pole were the only things I missed out on but I think I can live with that.

Moving on from here I have a meeting at Thruxton next weekend, the third meeting of the year.  At the moment I'm not going to be racing due to a lack of funds but there is still a little bit of time before then to hopefully find the budget to race.  Only time will tell….

Until then please have a look at my website for any news as it comes and have a look at YourRacingCar.com which is my supporters club.  We have some really great perks for members including discounted Thruxton BTCC tickets, the deadline of which is the 20th April.

Hopefully I'll see some of you at one of the meetings this year, thanks for reading and until next time,

All the best,

Max