Ginetta GT4 SupercupMax Coates Blog

Max Coates Blog: More Podiums But No Budget For Oulton Park

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Since my last blog there has been a lot of activity, unfortunately not all of it on track.  I've raced at Thruxton, but didn't manage to get the funding together to race at Oulton Park.  I also went to JapFest with RedBrick Racing to drive the Honda Civic BTCC cars they have and had a few laps around Croft for their media day.

Thruxton was a very wet meeting.  The rain started on Saturday morning and didn't finish until after we left to go home, occasionally we got a break from the elements and for one session we managed to use slicks, apart from that it was wet, cold and muddy.

No Friday testing due to noise restrictions meant that all 'supercuppers' jumped straight into Qualifying, I got more and more comfortable with the car as the session went on.  I managed to qualify third on the grid just a few tenths behind Louise Richardson.  The first race was on a drying track and with no knowledge of the circuit in the Ginetta G50 in the dry my first flying lap was to be the first lap of the race.  I managed to get through to 2nd at the start but didn't have the pace at the start.  Mark Davies, Louise and Rob Gaffney had all driven the car at the track in the previous years and had a slight upper hand in the early stages.  By the end of the race I was catching the podium fight but my challenge came too late and I finished 4th.

Sunday brought better results.  The first Sunday race was wet and visibility was poor.  I nearly lost the car at Noble when I couldn't see and hit a puddle.  I also went into Church behind Louise and Carl Breeze and literally couldn't see anything, not even the rain lights on the car in front.  Carl had a problem and wasn't going quickly.  Louise got passed him about half a lap before I did and by the time I got through she had gone.  The visibility behind a slower car meant that you just couldn't' find a way through until the slower corners when you could see again.  I tried to chase Louise down but the gap she had managed to build up couldn't be closed.

The second race was held on a drying track but not one dry enough for Slicks.  Everyone opted for wets but went for completely different set-ups.  I was struggling with under steer, Mark with over steer and Louise seemed to just have the grip she needed.  I brought the car home to 2nd which wasn't quite the result I was hoping for.  That said, 2nd, 3rd and 4th isn't a bad weekend's results and I was pleased with what we had achieved considering the lack of track time due to noise restrictions.

As I said, I went to JapFest at Castle Combe with RedBrick Racing.  They have the old Halfords Honda Civic BTCC cars and we were taking passengers out for rides.  Matty Bold, my mechanic, and I drove the cars and took passengers out all day.  It was great to take people out in the car, seeing their faces beaming with excitement or fear was fantastic.  It was also good to spend some time with the team away from a BTCC meeting.  To get the best out of your car on a race weekend you need to have the support of mechanics, engineers and everyone else involved in the team.  Spending time with them at evens like this helps to strengthen those relationships and improve the on track results.

Oulton Park was one of those nightmare weekends for me.  Many drivers suffer from not being able to raise the funds to compete at the BTCC support level.  Unfortunately that was my fate for Oulton Park.  Fortunately I missed two races instead of three and as such my title fight isn't over yet.  If I can continue the form that we showed at Donington the championship is still on the cards.

The next race meeting is at Croft, I am hoping to be back out in action again but once more only time will tell.  I will keep training hard and searching for the sponsors and partners to get me out so that if we can race there we'll have the best results possible.

Until then please have a look at my website for any news as it comes and have a look at which is my supporters club.  We have some great perks for members including discounted Croft BTCC tickets.

I'm really looking forward to meeting more local fans at Croft so hopefully I'll see you there, thanks for reading and until next time,

All the best,

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The Checkered Flag was set up in August 2009 and is dedicated to providing independent daily news and features from around the world of motorsport.
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