Photo credit: Elite Motorsport – L-R (Martin Poole, Rich Skeels, Eddie Ives, Max Coates)
Coates has retained the support of Primex Plastics, RPC bpi PLASgran, JiC Transport, RGPS, Gala Performance, NGK Spark Plugs, Jackson and Graham Accountants, CTL Dental and Olfi Camera as partners for the 2020 season. Coates will join Lewis Galer to create a two-car Elite Motorsport entry for the 2020 season.
2020 sees the MINI CHALLENGE entering its most exciting season yet as it steps up to become a support series at eight of the ten British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) events. Featuring live ITV4 coverage reaching 20 million in the UK alone and average crowds of 38,000 people, it replaces the Renault UK Clio Cup where Coates has enjoyed 14 race wins and championship challenges over the past four seasons. Likewise, Elite Motorsport have been champions for the last three years in Ginetta Juniors and are 2019 Ginetta GT4 Supercup Champions which both support the BTCC. The joining of Coates and Elite Motorsport is therefore an exciting one.
Although Coates and Elite Motorsport have no previous experience racing the Gen 3 F56 MINI Hatch JCW car, both Richard Skeels and Martin Poole as chief engineer and number one mechanic for Elite Motorsport have fronted a championship winning campaign in the MINI CHALLENGE in former roles.
After a successful pre-season test at Calafat in Spain both are confident going into the season ahead, Coates said, “After a very successful test with the Elite Motorsport team I am happy to be signing with them for the 2020 season. I drove the car for the first time two weeks ago and immediately got to grips with it. The three-day test was very useful and we were able to make a number of changes to the car to understand how it would react. I’m confident that with another few days under our belt before the season starts, we’ll be ready to hit the ground running at Donington. I’m really looking forward to working with Eddie, Rich and Martin this year alongside my long-standing mechanical team. I’d like to extend a thank you to Elite Motorsport as well as Primex Plastics, RPC bpi PLASgran, JiC transport and all my other partners who have continued to support me in 2020.”
“I’d like to thank Team HARD. Racing for all their efforts last season, whilst it had been my aim to step up to the BTCC it just wasn’t possible this year. The BTCC is my aim and I believe being in the Mini Challenge with Elite Motorsport is the best place to achieve that, I’m really excited for this season.”
Ed Ives, team owner of Elite Motorsport said, “We are extremely excited to have Max onboard. With his experience of front wheel drive cars and having run at the front in the Clio Cup, there is no doubt that he will be an integral part of Elite Motorsport’s fight for the MINI CHALLENGE title.”
The first round of the championship is at Donington Park in Derbyshire on the 28th / 29th March 2020. Coates’ local round of Croft will feature on the 15th / 16th August. Fans will be able to follow the season via Max’s, Elite Motorsport and the MINI CHALLENGE social media as well as live on ITV4 from each event. Tickets for each race meeting are available via the individual circuit’s websites.