Encouraging start to Ginetta series for race ace Bird

Max Bird in Ginetta junior championship action / Picture by Jakob Ebrey
Max Bird in Ginetta junior championship action / Picture by Jakob Ebrey
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Max Bird has had a successful start to the 2016 Ginetta Junior Championship.

After success in his first car race last November, when the 15-year-old from Chidham took a podium spot for being the top-placed rookie driver, he has joined Birmingham-based Total Control Racing for his assault on the Ginetta Junior championship in 2016

The championship involves racing at all the major circuits in the UK, including Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Thruxton, Croft, Donington, Rockingham, Oulton Park and Snetterton between April and October. Running alongside the British Touring Car Championship gives the series a high-profile with a large TV and trackside audience.

At the opening round at Brands Hatch, Bird impressed with eighth place in qualifying, fourth place overall and a podium as the leading rookie driver.

A slow start in the second race from fourth on the grid dropped him back into the pack of 22 young drivers and resulted in him being forced off track on the opening lap then getting caught up in another driver’s accident, which dropped him to 17th overall at the end of the race. Despite this he still set the second fastest lap of the afternoon.

The second round took place at Donington Park in the East Midlands. Saturday started bright and on a drying track Bird was quickest for seven of nine laps of qualifying but was held up on the two final and most important laps and failed to improve his time, taking seventh place on the grid for race 1.

Bird had a camera on board for ITV4 in the final race which featured a reverse grid line-up for the top six drivers.

Gambling that it wouldn’t rain, Bird and the other TCR drivers were on a dry set-up, which proved the wrong choice. It started to rain as the cars completed their warm-up lap and the heavens opened and sleet came down.

A sluggish start dropped Bird to 12th at the end of the first lap from which he recovered to ninth.

The sun came out for the second race. Bird lined up ninth and although he made a better start he dropped down to 11th before making progress back through the field moving up to seventh on lap five, where he finished, taking a podium position as the second rookie driver and picking up useful points.

On Sunday, Bird had a camera on board for ITV4 in the final race which featured a reverse grid line-up for the top six drivers. His in-car instrumentation failed on the warm-up lap and he lined up seventh on the grid without being able to see where his revs were. He made a sluggish start but moved up to sixth on lap nine, which is where he finished – taking another podium place as the second rookie driver.

Another solid result moved Bird up to eighth overall in the championship and second in the rookie event.

he has received support from local companies, including Artec Engineering, Sycamore Cars and Chichester gym and personal trainers Core Results. Paul Butler of Core Results said: “We are delighted to be able to help Max in his first season to achieve his goal of becoming a professional racing driver.”

Bird needs to attract further support and is hoping to work with local and national companies to promote their businesses through media coverage, promotions and trackside hospitality.

Anyone interested in supporting him can contact his father Tim Bird on 07850 218010 or by email at tbird@maxbird.co.uk to discuss the opportunity.

Follow Max’s progress at www.maxbird.co.uk or on Twitter @maxbird35 or on www.facebook.com/maxbirdracing

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