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Maximum Motorsport building for 2018

Maximum Motorsport enters its third campaign in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship next year, and preparations are well underway to make it the squad’s best yet.

The 2017 season was an encouraging one for Stewart Lines’ outfit as it tallied consistent top ten finishes over the course of the first five weekends.

With Josh Cook behind the wheel of the squad’s Ford Focus, Maximum had secured a series of best-ever results, starting with a seventh-placed finish back at the opener at Brands Hatch.

This was followed by yet more points-scoring pace, yielding further encouragement with another step forward – fourth at Donington Park in race two, complemented by a seventh-placed score in Round 6.

A minor blip at Thruxton wasn’t to last. Cook was able to storm back into the top ten and tally sixth and eighth at Oulton Park before seeing a race three outright podium arguably taken from his grasp in contact – it was enough, though, for a maiden weekend Independents’ Trophy.

Team Principal Stewart Lines filled the breech after Cook’s mid-season departure to his former team, MG Racing RCIB Insurance.

For 2018, Lines is looking to that team boss role full-time, leading from the top with a young talent in the driving seat of what has become a well-honed package in the unmistakable lime green Ford Focus.

“I was very happy with how last season went,” said Lines. “I think we performed well and with Josh (Cook) throughout the first half of the campaign, we showed just what we’re capable of as a team – and with this car. 

“We want to do it all again this year with another young, hungry driver like Josh. We’ve shown the car is there – it’s competitive, and the Indy podium at Oulton Park was a real highlight. It could have been better still had a little more luck come our way.”

Maximum continues to bely its size and the team are more than familiar with the intricacies of its Focus – a proven charge in NGTC trim. First-rate preparation and upgrades to come mean Lines is hoping to progress a step further for 2018.

“We are one of the smaller Independent outfits on the grid and our results excelled our stature,” Lines continued. 

“We’re able to successfully engineer a car we now know inside-out and we know how to extract the performance out of this Ford. 

“We don’t have the budget of some of the manufacturers but that doesn’t always equate to on-track performance in any case – it’s a combination of factors. 

“The car is well-prepped and set-up and we want to marry that to the right driver. 2017 was our first year with the full RML suspension kit, which suited the Focus nicely, and we made changes and evolved the car, yielding lap-time and we think there’s more to come with further modifications in the pipeline ahead of the 2018 campaign.”

Lines spoke of his enjoyment at life outside of the car on several occasions last year, running the team from the top rather than from the hot seat. His role as Team Principal was initially an enforced one, at late notice, after Lines broke his pelvis back in March. The Midlands racer wouldn’t be averse to taking to the track if needed, and a full pre-season, injury-free, would return a far better starting point for 2018.

“I will get behind the wheel myself if need be but I would like to promote the youth and give someone their chance in Britain’s biggest motor sport championship – I enjoyed the Team Principal role last year!

“That said, I didn’t have the best of chances to perform in 2017 either, with a broken pelvis in March ruling me out – so it was a tough one. I had little time to prepare so if it came to it, this time around, I’d be more settled.

“We’ll be ready for testing early on, and the car’s already there for the most part. We’ve some upgrades to carry out and parts to refresh but we know the platform we’re working from and we’ll be on track in February with plenty of chance to rack up the miles and hit the ground running ahead of Season Launch a month or so after that.”

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