Coates tested at three circuits in as many days with Oulton Park in Cheshire followed by Snetterton in Norfolk and then his native Croft in North Yorkshire.
He won at all three venues in 2018 when he came agonisingly close to winning the title.
He said: “The idea of the test really was just to get back in a car and get comfortable again – the last time I drove one was at the Clio Cup ‘world final’ at Paul Ricard last November.
“But after a quick run in the morning at Oulton I then started to build up pace in the afternoon and, sure enough, when I came back into the pits and got out of the car there was a massive grin all over my face.
“I love these cars and I’m raring to go for the new season.”
Coates added: “The three days were good in terms of being able to try different things on the car – they are three very different types of circuit and we had a mixed bag of weather so could work on both dry and wet weather set-ups.
“Although there was no official timing of course I know what a fast lap around those circuits feels like and all I’ll say is it felt right!”
Coates shared new Team HARD. team-mate Ethan Hammerton’s car at Oulton and Snetterton. At Croft, however, he drove his own car as Hammerton headed south to test at Brands Hatch in Kent where the opening rounds of this year’s championship will take place on the weekend of Sat 6/Sun 7 April.
This coming Saturday (16 March) both Coates and Hammerton will be joined by latest Team HARD. signing Jade Edwards in testing at Donington Park, Leics.
Pics: courtesy of Neil Sturgeon