Fans of the British Touring Car Championship will already be familiar with the excitement that the fantastic support series have provided over the years, not least the Mini Challenge which is marking its fourth season as part of the BTCC package this season.
In 2020, the series was selected as the replacement for the highly-popular Renault Clio Cup, which introduced us to future BTCC stars such as Jack Goff, Mike Bushell and three-time champion Ash Sutton. Since then, the Mini Challenge has quickly become an integral part of the programme and a must-see event for many a BTCC supporter.
The series itself provides not one but two competitions, divided between all ten BTCC meetings each year. Whilst the JCW category boasts the powerful two-litre 256bhp cars, it is the Challenge Trophy category – which showcases the naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre machines – that provided the foundation for the championship during its inception back in 2002.
And fans that have followed the competition this year will already be familiar with newcomer Maximus Hall who, in his debut season, is already no stranger to success.
Although still only sixteen years-of-age, Max has already carved out a storied motorsport career for himself.
Starting in kart racing when he was only six-years-old, quickly winning his first British Open Championship in Bambino Karts, Max graduated to the Ginetta Juniors in 2021 when he was only fourteen-years-old. But it was during his debut season in the Citroen Saxo-led Junior Saloon Car Championship where he really made a name for himself, notching up ten race victories en route to winning the 2022 driver’s championship on his first try.
Reflecting on his championship win, Max told Reverse Grid Podcast this week: “I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Being consistent all year is very important. If you’re not consistent, you can win a few races but you wouldn’t win the championship. So I had to focus on being consistent in every race.”
A new challenge awaited him this year as he took the opportunity to step up to the Mini Challenge Trophy, remaining with his JSCC-winning team, Westbourne Motorsport. The three rounds so far this season has seen Max secure two wins and a second at Snetterton, as well as his maiden pole as he set the fastest time in qualifying last time out at Thruxton.
Despite a winless visit to Thruxton, Max certainly gave everyone a glimpse at his potential. During the second race, Hall found himself mixed up in the fall-out of a dramatic incident involving his team-mate Harry Hickton. The damage incurred meant Hall could not finish the race and would start race three on Sunday at the back of the grid.
Max remarked: “That was a very big accident, that was. I’m just glad Harry was okay. Myself, I just had to keep calm. I said to myself that I was going to get the best result I could in the next race.”
When race three played out, in a performance worthy of BTCC greats (and in similar style to four-time champion Colin Turkington a few weeks ago at Oulton Park), Max Hall carved his way through the pack to finish seventh from twenty-fourth.
With the mid-season break now upon us, focus now shifts to the next meeting at Croft on 29th and 30th July. A strong start to the season already sees Max sitting at 5th in the overall driver's championship and top of the Rookie Cup standings.
Reflecting on his season so far and what may lie ahead, it is very clear that Max Hall has his eyes on the prize.
“The best highlight was Snetterton, getting a double win and second place. I’ve had a few mechanical issues this year but I think they’re all sorted now and I can’t wait for Croft, where I can hopefully get a few more wins.
“This year we are just aiming to do as well as we can. Obviously the championship would be very nice but we’ll just take it as it comes.”
The Mini Challenge Trophy returns to action on 29th & 30th July at Croft, as part of the BTCC programme.
You can check out the full interview with Maximus Hall on Reverse Grid Podcast here now.
BTCC Journalist @ F1 Journal