Former Ginetta and BTCC racer Max Coates will enter the Renault UK Clio Cup this season, linking up with Ciceley Motorsport for his debut in the tin-top championship.
The move marks a full time return to racing for the 22 year old, who has been limited to a few one-off meetings in recent seasons – including a BTCC debut in a Support Our Paras Racing Infiniti at Croft last season.
With backing from plastics specialist Primex and recycling company PLASgran, Coates will now embark on what he hopes to be his first full season of racing since 2011 – back when he competed in Ginetta Juniors before stepping up to the GT Supercup.
The move means Coates will now have competed in five of the six championships on the BTCC package, having also made a one-off guest appearance in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Donington Park in 2014.
Coates’ signing means BTCC outfit Ciceley Motorsport are expanding to a three car outfit for their maiden Clio campaign, with the Yorkshireman testing with them for the first time at his home circuit of Croft later this week.
“I’ve known the people at Ciceley for some time and when they told me they me they wanted to expand on their BTCC team with an entry into the UK Clio Cup I had my heart set on it,” said Coates, who joins Dan Zelos and Ollie Pidgley at the team.
“So it is a bit of a dream come true, particularly with their links to touring cars which is where I want to be full-time in the future. This will be the first time I’ve raced a front-wheel-drive car and that will be the biggest thing to learn.
“I’ve raced in a couple of the BTCC’s other supporting categories before and always been competitive so I want to be up there and challenging for podiums and maybe even pushing for the Graduates Cup title for young drivers in their first full season. I think they are realistic goals.”
Ciceley’s Adam Morgan added: “I really believe we’ve got a cracking driver line-up in Dan, Ollie and now Max for our first attempt at the UK Clio Cup. They might all be new to the championship but each brings something to the table in terms of experience and ability.
“We were convinced the UK Clio Cup was the right way to go with our expansion and the amount of interest from drivers – and how we’ve found the championship to deal with – has fully justified that decision.”