North Yorkshire’s Max Coates will remain in the Renault UK Clio Cup for 2019 joining Team HARD.
After winning four races Coates narrowly missed out on the title in 2018 having led the series for the majority of the championship. Entering his fourth season in the Clio Cup Coates has finished in the top four on every occasion and will continue with the same team of three mechanics he has used each year. Last term he also notched up the most pole positions in the UK series and finished second in Renault’s Internationale Finale event at Paul Ricard.
Team HARD, headed up by Tony Gilham, currently competes in a number of race categories including the British Touring Car Championship – 2019 will mark its debut in the Clio Cup, Europe’s premier single-model saloon car arena. 18-year-old Ethan Hammerton, who lives just ten miles from Max in nearby Northallerton, will also join the team. Max coached Ethan during his 2017 Clio Cup Junior campaign in which he finished 2nd. Both Max and Ethan will drive one of the teams BTCC cars in the mid-season tyre test.
Coates said: “This will be my fourth season in the championship, we came so close to taking the title in 2018. I’ve learnt more and more each year, as have my mechanics, and we feel confident about the season ahead. I’m particularly looking forward to racing a Clio at Knockhill which will be a great spectacle for drivers and fans alike.
“It’s a very exciting moment to confirm this deal with Team HARD who do so much to support drivers; their offer of a BTCC test is evidence of this. The Clio Cup features close racing and great business opportunities, commercially this works really well for my sponsors, more of whom I will be announcing soon.”
“Ethan has a sensational ability to put what he is told into practice and very good car control, having coached him from the passenger seat of a Clio I know this first hand! He’ll be a good team mate.”
Team HARD boss Tony Gilham added: “We’ve wanted to join the Clio Cup for some years and the timing is just right with Max and Ethan – both will also test our BTCC car during the championship’s mid-season official tyre test.
“With his results in the Clio Cup, Max is going to be a very strong contender for the title. Ethan was the winner of our young driver scholarship and is a very exciting talent.
“Together they make for a very strong driver line-up and our plan is to take them both back into the BTCC with us.”
All 18 of the Clio Cup’s rounds in 2019 will race at the BTCC’s high profile events which attract trackside crowds of over 38,000 people and are broadcast live on free-to-air television (ITV4/ITV4 HD) and to mobile devices via ITV.com. The first race of the season takes place at Brands Hatch on Saturday 6th April.
Team HARD., Max and Ethan are set to announce sponsors and other key team personnel in due course.