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 at Pembrey.
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 fastest lap.
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