Compared to his rivals who have either raced in national/international karting or other junior saloon car categories, Max is something of a racing novice.
Club level karting at Rye House is as far as it’s gone. Aged 16, he wasn’t born when dad Lee competed in Formula Ford 1600 in the mid-Eighties.
But said Max: “It’s because of him I enjoy the history of the sport so much and he was a big Villeneuve fan so that’s rubbed off on me. Watching his races is an inspiration. It’s the old school way of going racing – sliding a car and still being fast but fair.
“Like all the drivers – we’re all still under 17 – it’s our parents who have to drive us to the tracks! I’ve also got my grandmother who apart from sponsoring me a bit is also my harshest critic and biggest supporter rolled into one!”
Max is also eager to thank primary sponsor Renault Retail Group UK and his team, Team Pyro, and driver coaches such as Sutton plus senior UK Clio Cup champions Mike Bushell and Phil Glew.
However all that coaching and advice still has to be put into practice and Max’s wins – in Clio Cup Junior’s first ever race at Snetterton and, a fortnight later, at Brands Hatch – were a surprise to many.
He added: “Maybe the Rye House days helped – it’s tight and twisty and teaches you a lot about defending, accuracy and knowing how to take advantage of things in front of you.
“The win at Snetterton came after some overtaking to get to the front whereas at Brands Hatch it was about defending the lead from the start. Both wins needed good positioning on the track.”
Max will go into this coming weekend’s two rounds at Pembrey lying second in the standings. He had been the joint championship leader leaving Snetterton and went clear at the top with his second win in Brands Hatch’s opening race.
But, just as at Snetterton, a frustrating seventh place was all he could manage in race two at the Kent circuit and he now trails new leader, JamSport’s Gus Burton, by five points.
“We’re calling it our ‘race two voodoo’!” he joked. “But I’ve gone through things with Pyro and Ashley… Hopefully we can put that right at Pembrey and be strong in both races.”
Pembrey hosts the championship’s penultimate two rounds – after that it’s a back to Brands Hatch for the season finale in November when the Champion will be crowned and win a free registration into the senior UK Clio Cup.
Max concluded: “Wales in mid-October? The weather at Pembrey could certainly play its part! I don’t mind if it’s wet – I like the sensation of driving on a knife edge.
“It’s an interesting circuit – the last two corners are very fast and will be key as they determine your speed onto the long start-finish straight which leads to the best overtaking chance into the tight first bend, a hairpin.
“I’m not thinking about the title at all. We’re only four rounds into an eight-round championship so need to focus on it race by race, getting more podiums and hopefully wins – and not finishing seventh in race two!”