Everyone one is working hard to secure drives for the 2013 season, and that includes resident TCF blog contributor and 2012 G50 Cup driver, Max Coates. 2012 was a season full of ups and downs for the youngster, whose instant and impressive results came very early, coupling in 5 wins this year, before having a shortfall of funding forced him to forego the rest of the campaign, which cold have seen him go for the title.
I had the opportunity to talk to this hard-working individual at the Autosport International Show, who recently finished his A-Level exams, as well as having a brief stint co-commentating for ITV4 for the Knockhill round of the Ginetta Championship, instead of Ginetta chairman Lawrence Tomlinson.
He got an opportunity to race a G55 at the Brands Hatch finale that was prepared by Century Motorsport, which gave him the ideal opportunity to experience the car he could be driving in 2013, depending on what deals present themselves. Getting into a new racecar for the first time gave Max two completely different feelings: excitement and nervousness, but he relished the prospect: “The first time I actually drove the G55 was in treacherous wet conditions at Brands Hatch GP. With obviously not much time to get on the pace, but what I was able to do that weekend, would stand me in good stead for the future. To just jump into the car, and try to get up to par within an hour, was an immense challenge.
“This was especially the case with wet conditions suddenly changing to dry conditions for qualifying. But it was great to get out there and race against Tom Ingram, Jake Hill, Carl Breeze and Tom Sharp, some of whom I’ve raced against in the past, to have the chance to mix it up with them.”
Max had the chance of casting a race driver opinion in the commentary booth, when he ventured to Knockhill in the latter part of last year, and it was a definite eye-opener, as he found that it is really harder than it looks. He complimented all the commentators that he worked with that weekend, as well as having to find his feet and ad-lib on the go, from the very moment he stepped in the booth. Max explained that it was a case of taking every chance he got to maximize his time at the race circuit: “This came about, as a result of a the budget issue happening earlier in the year, which occurs to a lot of drivers throughout their career. Getting to commentate on ITV4 couldn’t have been much a better way to do that.”
Max was also one of the many drivers and riders that had applied to the KX Academy, so as to give his chances for a 2013 drive in the Ginetta Supercup a welcome boost, and give his 2013 season the kick-start it needed. . But as with many, he was unsuccessful in doing so, but was complimentary of the fact that BTCC veteran and BRDC Board Director, Jason Plato, and KX were spearheading such a great initiative: “In many ways, the KX Academy is the Racing Steps Foundation version of tin-tops. It was a simple format to go through the application process, but it was difficult to get it right. Some of the questions were easy, but others were challenging, as you had to think about not just how you are as a driver and as a person, but on what you can also bring to the table for KX as a marketing campaign.
“A lot of people don’t see this side of racing, especially when it comes to topics talked about off track. Many understand that you have to be fit, but don’t really know how fit, as well as how much money you have find to keep yourself on the grid.”
Even without a drive yet to be secured for this season, Max is still hard at work, keeping himself ready for the challenge ahead. To give an idea of how much preparation it takes to be a professional behind the wheel, he explained to TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk what his usual weekly training schedule entails: “I normally train about 5 times a week. Monday nights are when I go running, and I spend about 45 minutes to an hour doing so, which means I simulate a race distance, and keep going for about 7-8 miles. To change things around, I do circuits, which helps to exercise different muscle groups, and changes things around.
“I get support in my training, thanks to Liberty Health Club, who provide me with a free membership, as well as some personal training. This can be really helpful, so as to help me reach fitness goals that are easier to reach with their assistance. I also try to go swimming, as well as cycling, to even things up a bit more.”
So, it just goes to show, that no matter where you race, be it in tin-tops or single-seaters, you have to be prepared these days, as nothing can be taken for granted. Be sure to follow Max’s regular blog post here on TCF, to catch up on any latest developments or announcements this young and capable driver will have in store for us in the days and weeks to come…