Max Coates has reinforced himself as one of the Renault UK Clio Cup frontrunners in recent seasons where every campaign he has finished has seen him not outside of the top four in the final championship standings.
Following a 2018 season where he scored four victories and remained in title contention until the final race of the year, hopes are high to go a few places better by the time the 2019 season reaches its climax.
During the Autosport International Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham earlier this year, Max was unveiled as one of the drivers for Team HARD’s first foray into the Clio Cup alongside Ethan Hammerton.
Max spoke to The Checkered Flag about this deal and what the partnership will entail.
“I’ve had a good three years and there was no reason not to continue with that.” Max replied after being asked whether he was pleased to be staying on the grid.
“Tony [Gilham] approached me through Ethan, [Hammerton] who’ll now be my teammate, to say ‘you know what you need to do to win a championship, we’d like to support you and you can tell us how you’d like it to be run’ so that’s how we’ve done it and we are currently putting the final pieces of the operational jigsaw together.
“It essentially gives me the chance to run my own team under Tony’s umbrella so he obviously trusts me enough to do a good job.”
Before the Team HARD deal for a 2019 UK Clio Cup season, Max had been working on a deal for the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship grid. However, when the chance to go for that was getting late, the Clio Cup deal was a no brainer.
“Touring cars was the main one of interest. It was what I wanted to do and up until Christmas it was still in the plan.
“When we realised we weren’t in a position to really do it, we said ‘right. Lets get ourselves organised’ which is what we’ve done and we’re very happy that we’re with Team HARD in the Clio Cup.”
With Team HARD’s links to the British Touring Car Championship, this will be fantastic opportunity for Max to prove his mettle and possibly get a drive in the series for 2020. Tony Gilham will undoubtedly want to keep hold of their talent if he becomes one of the drivers to beat this season in the Clio Cup.