Leeds Beckett student impresses in Paras Racing debut
BA (Hons) Sport Marketing student Max Coates scored points in both the Independents Championship, and Jack Sears Trophy in his first outing for the Paras Racing team.
Max, a 21-year-old from Scorton, who lives just five miles from the North-east circuit, improved throughout the weekend despite only sitting in his No71 Infiniti Q50 for the first time on Saturday morning. Backed by the support of his family and friends, Max not only achieved his principal objective of the weekend — completing all three races without damaging the car — he bagged his first Top 20 finish in the day's finale.
The Leeds Beckett student also scored points in two of the races in the Independents Trophy, and on all three occasions in the Jack Sears Trophy for BTCC rookies.
"At the beginning of the week I didn't know anything about the car: and now I've just had my first top 20 finish," Coates said as he shielded his eyes from the late afternoon sun which drenched Croft. "I'm properly made up.
"At the start of the week, I didn't think my smile could get any bigger, but it has. I've improved with every session, so I'm pleased with my overall performance. It felt really, really good, and that has made me seriously excited about the next race at Snetterton.
"I started the weekend in the 1min 29.7s and finished on a 27.2s, so it's a big difference. I haven't seen the times, but I'm sure the gap to the lead times is now closer than it was at the beginning."
In actual fact, in qualifying, Max's gap to the polesitter was 3.440s: in Race 3 the gap was just 1.914s to the fastest lap of Matt Neal.
"It's more than 12 months since I raced," Coates smiled, "but I now feel like I'm a racing driver again. And it's a brilliant feeling."
Speaking about balancing his racing with his studies at Leeds Beckett, Max added: "It's not been easy to manage all my commitments, racing, university and work, but I am so happy to be achieving so well in all three. My work at Leeds Beckett has helped me so much in being able to secure both a work placement and a drive with a fantastic team in the British Touring Car Championship. I'm over the moon with both my first class average on the Sport Marketing course and a top 20 on my debut in the British Touring Car Championship!"
The Mallory Park-based TENA Men-backed team's race cars are prepared by injured ex-servicemen from the Parachute Regiment, with all team profits being donated to Support Our Paras, the official Regiment charity.
Speaking about Max’s success, Kacy Mackreth, Senior Lecturer in Sport Marketing at Leeds Beckett said: “Max has achieved a great deal on and off the track this year. He has managed to continue to live his dream of racing at a high level, secure funding, carry out an internship with ION camera and manage to maintain a first class average across his studies on the BA (Hons) Sport Marketing degree. Max is using his studies by applying what he has learnt on his sport sponsorship and new media marketing modules to help build his racing profile. We are very proud of his achievements and hope his success continues.”