Support Our Paras Racing have announced that former Ginetta racer Max Coates will drive their second Infiniti Q50 for the remainder of this year’s British Touring Car Championship season.
21 year-old Coates has experience on the TOCA support ladder having driven in Ginetta juniors, the Ginetta GT Supercup and the Porshce Carerra Cup GB, and will contest the remaining six rounds of the season for the fledgling team carrying the #71.
He joins in time to make his debut at his home circuit of Croft, just seven miles north of his hometown of Scorton.
“I’m over the moon to be joining Support Our Paras Racing in the BTCC,” said Coates. “The structure of the team is unique and it really is all about supporting the Paras. It’s an honour to represent the Paras on track. The guys are learning a lot very quickly, but they have teamwork and desire to succeed in abundance.
“I’m under no illusion as to how hard the racing will be. This is the first part of a longterm plan with the team and I am very excited about opportunities both now and in the future.
“Racing in the BTCC will be a dream come true. There has been a lot of hard work, from a number of people, behind the scenes over the last five years since I joined the TOCA paddock. Kicking off my BTCC career at Croft, my home circuit, will be something special.”
Coates’ appointment fills the second seat alongside regular driver Derek Palmer Jr, who was the team’s sole competitor three weeks ago at Oulton Park after Infiniti ended their support of the team, and the team admitted it was excited to see what the Yorkshireman could achieve.
“I’m delighted to welcome Max to the team,” said Team Principal Derek Palmer Sr. “We know what he’s capable of, and he has bags of potential which we’re confident we’ll be able to nurture and develop.
“It’s an exciting appointment for the team, and we’re looking forward to working together for the rest of the season, and into 2016.”
“Placing Max in the second car is a significant boost for the team, and will allow us, finally, to focus on bringing stability to the fledgling team,” added Operations Director Jim McGill, who was hoping that the signing would mark a more stable period for the team. “It’s widely known the challenges we’ve faced throughout the opening four BTCC race weekends, but now we can concentrate on developing a unified team which has two young drivers with bags of potential.
“It has always been my goal to have two young drivers in the cars who will grow and develop with the team as it establishes itself and becomes more competitive.
“We have always acknowledged the BTCC is a tough championship, and we accept we’re serving our apprenticeship in the full glare of publicity.
“Now though we have a group of guys ready to knuckle down for the longterm, build through the second half of the season and be ready to deliver results.”