Incredibly, Jonny Adam’s 1m31.509s lap set in 2004 still stands at the North Yorkshire circuit (pictured left).
In fact it took until last year for anyone – Coates, it turned out – to beat the old qualifying lap record set in 2010 by Dave Newsham.
Croft, though, has recently undergone a total resurfacing and Coates is sure the Adam record from 15 years ago will be beaten in the championship’s final season.
“A clear lap in dry weather – that lap record will go this weekend; I’m pretty confident of that,” said Team HARD driver Coates.
“I’ve heard other people from other categories who’ve tried the new surface say that while it’s still fresh there could be gains of up to five seconds!
“I don’t know if it’ll be quite that much in a Clio, but I predict it could be quite significant. Some people I know in the local cycling club who ride Croft every week say they are carrying 5mph more through some corners because of the new surface!”
After winning the season’s opening two rounds at Brands Hatch in April, Coates then suffered difficulties next time out at Donington Park. As a result he will go into the Croft weekend lying third in the table, chasing MRM team-mates Jack Young and Brett Lidsey who hold the top two positions in the standings.
He added: “We had a bad weekend at Donington but Croft has been kind to us in the past with two wins (2016 and 2018) and hopefully that trend will continue.
“I’ve got several hundred guests there this weekend but if there is any pressure then it is from myself. I’m not too worried and can’t see any reason why we can’t be setting the pace there.”