Bird flies to fourth spot in first season in cars

Max Bird in action on his way to a fourth-place championship finish
Max Bird in action on his way to a fourth-place championship finish

In his first full season of car racing, Max Bird took fourth overall in the highly-competitive Ginetta GT5 Challenge championship.

The 17-year-old student from Chidham started the season in fine style with a win in the first race at Oulton Park in wet conditions, followed by a third place in the second race.

This was followed by difficult race weekends at Rockingham and Thruxton where he was caught up in first corner accidents involving other cars that he wasn’t able to avoid. But he came back strongly at Silverstone on the Grand Prix circuit with a podium finish and a fastest lap.

At the halfway point in the season Bird was lying eighth in the championship, with the next race at Zandvoort in Holland, a track Bird had never been to. He impressed immediately and recorded two fourth places before taking a second place and fastest lap in the final race to move him up to seventh in the championship.

After the warm weather in Holland it was off to Knockhill in Scotland and despite being the middle of August it was wet and cold.

Knockhill was another new circuit for Bird and the weather made it a challenge to learn the track, but he moved up another place in the standings to sixth with some strong results despite his lack of experience at the circuit.

The final round was at Donington, a circuit he particularly enjoys driving, and he immediately made his mark in practice setting the quickest time 0.5 seconds clear of the next driver.

His first pole position of the season in qualifying set the scene for the weekend which saw some very close racing – with Bird taking two podiums for second and third places and enough points to move him up to fourth in the championship, just missing out on third by a few points.

It was a credible result in such a competitive series where all the cars are the same and typically no more than one second will cover the top 15 cars in qualifying.

Bird said: “I have learned a lot in my first year in the Ginetta GT5 and while I am pleased with my fourth place I’m confident I can improve still further in 2018.”

During the winter, as well as preparing for next year’s Ginetta GT5 series, Bird also hopes to do some testing in the much more powerful Ginetta G55 in preparation for a possible move up in 2019 to the British GT endurance championship.

Bird has received support from national companies 2KM and Morris Lubricants and local companies including Bluebird Developments, Artec Engineering, Sycamore Cars and Chichester gym and personal trainers Core Results, based in Quarry Lane.

Paul Butler of Core Results said: “We are delighted to be able to have supported Max this year and are very impressed with the tremendous results he has achieved.”

To compete at the highest level Bird needs to attract further support and is hoping to work with local and national companies to promote their business and brand through media coverage, promotions and trackside hospitality.

Anyone interested in supporting him in his journey as a professional racing driver can contact him by email at max@maxbird.co.uk to discuss the opportunity.

You can follow Max’s progress throughout 2018 at www.maxbird.co.uk or on Twitter @maxbird35 or www.facebook.com/maxbirdracing