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Category: Autosport Young Guns

Burgeoning talent Max Cornelius just missed out on winning the Autosport Young Guns title by the slimmest of margins at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire on Sunday, 29th August – a dramatic final corner tangle in the last race of the season proving to be the decisive moment.

Driving brilliantly to the seventh race victory of his rookie campaign during the opening encounter at the UK’s fastest track, the 16-year-old karting graduate put the title well within reach ahead of the final round. However, an incident with arch rival Patryk Szczerbinski at Club Chicane meant Max just missed out on becoming a champion in his first season of car racing by a mere four points.

The Motaworld Racing driver, who resides just 40 miles from Thruxton in Southwick on the Somerset/Wiltshire border, had his eighth win – and the championship – in his sights as he nosed ahead of Szczerbinski for the lead into the last turn but the pair made unfortunate contact, ending their race.

Understandably disappointed with the conclusion to his final weekend in Autosport Young Guns, Max nonetheless has the consolation of being the driver with the most wins over the course of the season – a tremendous tally of seven victories from the last 10 starts. During the second Thruxton encounter he also posted the fastest race lap of the weekend, 1m18.356 seconds, to underline his consistently rapid pace.

“Obviously, it’s really disappointing to miss out on the title this way but we’ve given it a really good shot since we joined the championship and to win more than half the races I started in my first car racing season is great”, said Max.

“Congratulations to Patryk, we’ve had some close battles and it’s been good fun racing with him. I want to thank all the guys at Motaworld for doing a great job and I also need to say a huge thank you to my family and to the fantastic sponsors who have made this season possible.”

Max’s weekend started firmly on the back-foot when an engine failure during testing on Friday, after just a couple of laps, meant he was unable to complete any set-up work. Even so, he did a great job during qualifying to secure a spot on the front row of the grid alongside Szczerbinski.

Having made some changes to the settings ahead of raceday, Max aimed for nothing less than the win during the first encounter and he delivered superbly during a frantic, back and forth battle with Szczerbinski throughout the 15 lap duration.

The lead changed hands at least a dozen times over the course of the race with nothing between the two championship protagonists at all. Dicing hard and with average lap speeds of well over 100mph, Cornelius headed into the final lap in second place but took the lead back on the run up Woodham Hill to claim a very well deserved seventh win of 2010.

With his first single-seater campaign now wrapped up, Max is considering a range of options for his next step on the motor racing ladder. With potential opportunities to compete in Asia in Formula BMW and to undertake a test programme in the UK in Formula Renault and Formula 3, there is plenty for him to think about over the coming weeks – visit www.maxcornelius.com for all the latest.

His participation in the Autosport Young Guns finale was made possible by the vital support of, in no particular order: CPS Garage Services of Bradford on Avon; Upsalls Property Management, Giantbox & Dan Toilet Hire of Trowbridge; Auto Components (Westbury) Ltd, Club Ice, Stairway Joinery, Kevin’s Menswear from Westbury; Frome Scaffolding, Innetar Bodyshop, Compugraphic Design, Café Le Strada, Part 2 Hair Dresser, Lettings-R-Us, Telefringe, Train Station Gym of Frome; Polar Thermal Products of Warminster & Hatton Hotels Group.

Car racing rookie Max Cornelius continued his seriously impressive debut season in fine style at Castle Combe in Wiltshire over the weekend, 17th/18th July, by taking a fantastic double victory and a further top three finish during the latest instalment of the Autosport Young Guns.

From his last six races, the 16-year-old has taken an outstanding tally of six podiums – including five richly deserved wins – and is rapidly marking himself out as a young driver with a huge amount of potential in the realms of single-seater racing.

“It’s been another fantastic weekend, I’m really pleased with the result”, said the Southwick-based youngster, “It would have been incredible to win all three races again but we can’t be greedy! Five wins from six races is a fantastic total though, I can’t wait for the next rounds now at Brands Hatch.”

During Saturday morning’s qualifying session at his most local track, Max was on course to take pole position but after easing off to preserve the life of his tyres he slipped to third with a best time of 1m07.402 seconds (98.81mph) – just two 10ths of a second shy of the top spot.

At the start of the weekend’s opening encounter on Saturday afternoon, the Somerset youngster quickly moved into second position and at the end of lap one he was just 0.8 seconds behind race leader Patryk Szczerbinski. On lap two though, he was pushed back to third by Leopold Ringbom

Max continued well in the final rostrum spot but did unfortunately lose ground to the drivers ahead on lap nine following a spin as he battled with the car’s softer suspension set-up. Remaining in third to the finish on lap 18, he at least secured his fourth podium in as many races having taken a hat-trick of victories at Pembrey in South Wales during the previous event at the end of June.

It wasn’t long before Max hit the winning trail once again though and during race two on Sunday morning, the Motaworld Racing teenager took his fourth victory of 2010 after mastering the damp conditions. Opting for stiffer suspension settings to suit his driving style, Max did a superb job.

Moving from third to second immediately, he was then passed by the fast-starting, and vastly more experienced, Jake Rattenbury. Slipping back behind Szczerbinski too, Max fought wheel-to-wheel for third through Folly Corner and up to Quarry where he made the place his own before usurping Rattenbury at Camp for second position.

Closing on race leader Ringbom, Max pressured him into a mistake on lap five at Camp and duly moved into the lead. Building a substantial cushion over the remaining 12 laps, he cruised to an eventual winning margin of almost 15 seconds – a truly dominant drive.

Heading into the dry third encounter thoroughly determined for more success, the St Laurence School pupil quickly made headway from third on the grid and with an incredibly bold move he seized the lead around the outside at Quarry. Pumping in fastest lap after fastest lap, with a best of 1m06.618 seconds (99.97mph), he went on to win by 3.3 seconds from Szczerbinski.

Max added: “I wasn’t comfortable with the softer suspension settings for the damp conditions, I wanted the car to run stiffer and as soon as we changed that everything felt much better. It was good to learn more about how the car reacts in different conditions, I’ve gained a lot of experience this weekend and to take such good results too is a major bonus.”

During the three week break between the Pembrey and Castle Combe race meetings, Max’s family were able to secure some much-needed and very gratefully received additional support from an array of local sponsors to ensure his superb debut season of car racing could continue.

Sincere thanks go to, in no particular order: Tipadel Builders Merchants, T&A Motors of Bradford on Avon, CPS Garage Services of Bradford on Avon, Upsall Property Management of Trowbridge, Giantbox Self Storage in Salisbury and Trowbridge, Frome Scaffolding, Piling Equipment Ltd of Warminster, Dan Toilet Hire of Trowbridge, H&B Tyres of Frome, Innetar Bodyshop of Frome and Compugraphic Design, also of Frome, Fussels Fine Foods of Rode and Coco’s Womenswear of Frome.

The next event on the Autosport Young Guns calendar will take place at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent four weeks from now, 14th/15th August. For all the latest regarding Max’s career, please visit www.maxcornelius.com and for information regarding marketing and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jonathan Davis on +44 (0)7876 566182 or by email to lesters2@btconnect.com

Somerset teenager Max Cornelius produced a truly sensational performance at Pembrey Circuit in South Wales over the weekend, 26th/27th June, to secure a perfect hat-trick of race victories in the Autosport Young Guns – his first successes since graduating to car racing only a few weeks ago.

In only his second race weekend in the new-for-2010 championship the 16-year-old, from Southwick near Frome – the hometown of reigning FIA Formula One World Champion Jenson Button – emerged as the dominant force.

Competing with highly respected team Motaworld Racing, Max locked out pole position for each encounter with an outstanding performance and then delivered three tremendous race drives to win the trio of outings. In doing so, the talented car racing rookie became the youngest winner in the inaugural season of the Autosport Young Guns and also the first Briton to take victory.

“This weekend couldn’t have gone any better”, said an elated Max, “Our aim was to try and get on the podium so to take three pole positions and win all three races is unbelievable! When I took pole in qualifying I was so happy, I’m almost speechless after winning each race. I want to dedicate the results to everyone at Motaworld and my family, without them it wouldn’t have been possible.”

During qualifying at the 1.45-mile track on Saturday morning, Max scorched to a hat-trick of pole positions with a string of stunningly consistent laps – times of 56.050 seconds, 56.055 seconds and 56.065 seconds respectively.

Utterly dominant in the first race on Saturday afternoon, he took his breakthrough maiden victory with an unchallenged lights-to-flag drive. Opening up an advantage of just over a second on lap one, the karting graduate controlled the race and after posting the fastest lap at mid-distance he took the chequered flag 2.6 seconds clear.

During the first of Sunday’s races Max, who concludes his GCSE exams at St Laurence School in Bradford-on-Avon this week, took his second win in impressive style during an encounter which called for an altogether different approach as he had to fight his way back to the front after slipping back early on.

Locking up his front-right wheel under braking during the early exchanges, Max adapted to the issue and battled back from third place to win by almost four seconds – overturning a similar time deficit in the process.

Dicing hard over second place, which he claimed, lost and then re-took in quick succession, Max reeled-in the race leader with a determined drive and pulled away in fine style. In addition, he also posted the fastest race lap once again at the wheel of his JKS F75 car.

In the third encounter, which was screened live in the UK on digital satellite and cable channel Motors TV as part of its coverage of the Dunlop Great and British race package from Pembrey, he mirrored his race one performance with a sensational pole-to-flag drive. Never putting a wheel wrong, the burgeoning talent took a commanding victory by around four seconds and also secured fastest lap for the third time.

Max commented: “When I was in karting I tended to over-drive sometimes when I was at the front but this weekend I kept my head and everything went perfectly. The team has done a brilliant job for me, Alan (Waite – Motaworld team principal) and the other guys have been fantastic. We’re taking each race as it comes but obviously I really hope we can win again next time out.”

Sponsorship hunt gathers pace ahead of home event
Next on the 2010 Autosport Young Guns calendar is a visit to Max’s most local track, Castle Combe in Wiltshire, over the weekend 17th/18th July. Before then though, he and his family will be working double-hard to try and secure additional financial support to help him continue his fantastic progress during his first ever season of car racing.

With his championship bid currently self-financed, the promising teenage sensation requires the support and backing of commercial partners to help him fulfil his undoubted potential in single-seater racing as he bids to climb the motorsport ladder.

The immediate target is for more success in the existing campaign but the target for 2011 is a possible step up to the ranks of Formula Renault – a key category on the path to Formula One and a title won in the past in the UK by the likes of 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton and 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen.

For more information regarding the sponsorship packages and commercial opportunities available, please contact Jonathan Davis on +44 (0)7876 566182 or by email to lesters2@btconnect.com

Further details regarding Max’s career can be found at www.maxcornelius.com along with links to YouTube video footage of his debut season in cars.

Photos by Oliver Read Photography.