Coates finished third outright in the standings at his first attempt at the UK Clio Cup in 2016 with seven podium results in all – the highlight being a breakthrough race victory on home ground at Croft Circuit. He also emerged a convincing winner of the championship’s Graduates Cup award for young drivers in their first full season in the category.
Coates’s performances and a pro-active approach off the track with sponsors and fans earned him much applause during the year. He will go into 2017 with a new primary sponsor, Harron Homes, plus continued backing from Primex Plastics Limited and PLASgran Recycling Limited.
“The decision was a bit of a bit of a no brainer to be honest and I’m delighted to be back – with a season of the UK Clio Cup now under my belt and with the continuity of working with Ciceley I know we have a great chance of going for the title in 2017,” commented Coates.
“2016 was when I’d say I really got my career properly back on track after a number of bit-seasons in other categories.
“A strong season in the UK Clio Cup has definitely given my driving career a new lease of life in all departments – it’s sharpened up my act on track, my profile is a lot closer to where I want it to be, I’m working with real professionals in Ciceley and the people at Renault Sport UK and it’s helped me bring on board some great sponsors who I want to take all the way to the British Touring Car Championship.
“Add all those together and you produce a critical mass which puts you in a great position for the future – it’s the best move I’ve ever made in my career.”
Ciceley operates one of the leading teams in the BTCC and its star touring car driver Adam Morgan is also Team Principal for its UK Clio Cup race outfit. Morgan said: “It’s fantastic to keep Max on board for 2017 – he was a revelation in 2016 and he will undoubtedly go into next season among the favourites for the crown.
“He is doing it absolutely the right way – treating the championship as a minimum two-year programme before then looking to make the next move instead of rushing to get there before he’s ready. That can and does trip up many young drivers. He’s got a wise head on young shoulders and everyone at Ciceley is very excited about working with him again.”
Renault Sport’s UK Motorsport Championship Manager Will Fewkes added: “What a great first name to commit to our UK Clio Cup grid for 2017. Max emerged as a very popular character among the huge trackside crowds and ITV4 audiences that follow the action during our 2016 season and they will, I’m sure, be delighted to see him returning. Now we look forward with interest to see who will be next to announce their place on the grid…”