Wednesday | 29 Apr 2020

Teenage McRae follows the family line

Max McRae will follow in the footsteps of father Alister, uncle Colin and grandfather Jimmy when he starts rallying a Ford later this season.

The 15-year-old has taken delivery of a Ford Fiesta ST which should be pressed into gravel action in the second half of the season.

McRae Jr has been running a Suzuki Swift on a variety of sprint-type events, but his first test in the Fiesta has whetted his appetite for becoming the newest member of the famous Scottish rallying dynasty to head into the forests.

“I’m competing in Formula 1000 single seaters at home in Australia right now,” he said, “and that’s good. I’m enjoying it and the step up to a proper race car from karts has been great.

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“But ultimately rallying has always been the main objective and the place I want to be and that hasn’t changed.

“The Suzuki was a great way to learn to drive a rally car, but there’s so much more to do with the Fiesta. We’re running it on gravel suspension, so I can really feel and work with the weight transfer in the car. It’s also got a bit more power than the Suzuki, which is nice.

“Once I’m 16 [in June] then you’re allowed to drive on the roads here with ‘L’ plates on – I’m hoping we can start some rallies then. Obviously that depends on what we’re allowed to do with the coronavirus as well then,” added Max.

All three rallying McRaes before him enjoyed great success with Ford. Jimmy won the 1987 and 1988 British titles at the wheel of a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, Alister placed an Escort fourth on the 1995 RAC Rally and Colin won nine WRC rounds in four years as a factory driver with Malcolm Wilson’s Blue Oval squad.

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Despite his impending shift to rallying, Max has impressed with his early pace in Formula 1000. He finished second after starting from the back of the grid in just his second race.

“I was a wee bit worried,” said Alister, “we’ve had him in karts for a while, but suddenly these things have slicks and wings and they’re so much quicker. He’s gone really well and made the transition no bother, even though he’s surrounded by some really experienced racers.

“I’ve got to say, his lap times were pretty impressive – he was lapping Barbagallo (Wanneroo Raceway) around the same speed the V8 touring cars would be.”

Picture courtesy of McRae family.