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At the 2016 IAME International Final British driver Jac Maybin almost found himself standing on the podium of a World Final after an almost perfect weekend saw him line up 4th on the grid for the Final. Despite running in 3rd for a long period he unfortunately crashed out late in the Final, but it was a weekend that saw him become a respected driver on both the British and European karting circuits. Last month we caught up with Jac to find out more about his journey to Le Mans.
Let’s start from the beginning…
“I first jumped in a kart when I was 9 years old. It was at an indoor circuit called Formula Fast in Banbury. I loved it straight away and went there for a while coming across drivers including Elliot Harvey and Matthew Graham.”
With Jac now hooked it was time for something faster and that’s when he got his MSA licence and started racing in Mini Max.
“I was 12 years old when I had my first MSA race. I’d say it was always a regret starting at that age there were lots of drivers who had a head start on me, but it was great to be out there running as a Privateer with my Dad.”
With Jac running slightly over weight he moved up to Junior Max as quickly as possible continuing to run as a Privateer at Whilton Mill and Shenington.
Then came the X30…
Once the X30 engines came out, with it looking the cheaper option we decided to give it a go straight away. We did a test day with Jack Dex Racing and shortly after Jac joined Jack’s team now racing on the MS Kart.
“I gained a lot of confidence when I started racing on the X30 with JDR. With everyone learning about the engine I was able to get up to pace straight away and that was largely down to Jack who’s taught me most of what I know. He was great and I really enjoyed racing with him.”
In 2014 Jac did his first national race in the LGM Series at Shenington and continued to do Whilton and Shenington Club Events. In 2015 the Formula Kart Stars championship returned and with the ‘level playing field’ format Jac decided to give it a go.
Formula Kart Stars
“FKS went really well for me, I was running at the front right from round one and it definitely gave me a lot of confidence. I had lots of good rounds, but one or two bad rounds and an injury saw me pull out from the series early. That was probably the first place where I started to get results worth shouting about.”
That year Jac also became Whilton Mill Kart Club Vice Champion finishing 2nd to Callum Bradshaw.
At the end of 2015 Jac decided to move team joining the dominant BKC Racing.
“BKC Racing were really successful in the X30 classes with Callum Bradshaw, Philip Hanson and Sam McDonnell in 2015 so it was for that reason we decided to join them for our 2016 season. Although Jack Dex was fantastic we just felt we needed a change.”
Now with BKC Racing Jac planned to do Whilton Mill and Trent Valley Kart Club events along with selected LGM rounds and Kartmasters.
Jac becomes champion
Last year was certainly the year where Jac became a confirmed front runner. Everywhere he raced he was quick and he was pretty successfully too! He wrapped up the Whilton Mill Kart Club Championship with ease and had good results at PFI too finishing runner up to Ethan Hawkey with LGM going well at the rounds he took part in.
“Winning the Whilton Mill Kart Club Championship was great, the experience has helped and I always went out to win it. I had no real pressure in terms of the title at the last round so I wanted to end it in style with a win and beat some of the new Junior drivers.”
Perhaps Jac’s best result of 2016 was at Kartmasters
“Kartmasters I think went very well. Me, Callum (Bradshaw) and Sam (McDonnell) were all very quick all weekend, but I don’t think we expected a podium lock out. I qualified on pole for the Pre Final and finished 2nd to Callum, I was very happy with a front row start and set my eyes on victory for the Final.”
The Final was a similar story for Jac, for most of the race he his followed team mate, Sam around before they were joined by Callum and Oliver York for a two lap shoot out. York won the race, but was later penalised which handed the victory to Callum and 2nd to Jac.
“I was a bit gutted not to win Kartmasters, but I can’t complain with 2nd and losing out to Callum isn’t bad. The result meant I had qualified for the World Finals and from there it was about building up to Le Mans. We pulled out of some LGM and Club races to save some money for the event.”
Le Mans preparation begins
The entry list for the ‘qualification only’ IAME International Final was a staggering 120+ with some of Europe’s biggest Factory drivers turning up in the hope of glory.
“With no testing before the meeting I expected to just make the A Final at best, but in the end we almost got a podium!”
All week Jac was arguably the surprise package of the event. He qualified on the second row for the Pre Final before lining up 4th for the Grand Final.
“I tried to treat the Final like any other race. I was around some drivers I ran back in the UK so I didn’t put too much pressure on myself. I raced against the like of Callum and Oliver York in the UK so I knew I had a chance in Le Mans.”
As for the Final Jac had himself in a battle for a podium position before crashing out with a handful of laps to go. It was a bitter blow with his chances of standing on the Le Mans podium evaporating, understandably Jac was gutted but on reflection he was able to realise what he had achieved.
“I was disappointed at first but looking back on the week for my first European race I didn’t think I did too badly at all. I was one of the most consistent over the week so I can’t really complain to be honest. I think it’s raised my profile and more people know who I am now.
Team change for 2017
“Next year I’m going to be racing with Piers Sexton Racing. I’m also going up to Senior X30 and I’m looking at Super One and maybe the Trent Valley Kart Club and Whilton Mill Kart Club Championships, but it’s obviously dependant on budget.”
“I’m excited to be moving up to Senior X30 and to be racing alongside the likes Oli Hodgson, Danny Kierle and Mark Litchfield. It will be a tough challenge! The opportunity with PSR is great, Piers has a proven pedigree of working and delivering results with top drivers and taking them to world championships!”
We also spoke to Jac’s new Team Manager, Piers Sexton who commented:
“I watched Jac at various races last year and saw how quickly he had progressed, his pace looked really good and his driving style looked good too. I thought with some driver tuition in certain areas he could get to a very high level. After talking for a while Jac decided to join the team for the year. We’ve decided to move up to Senior X30 and Jac will be competing in Super One and selected European events along with the World Finals later in the year. I think we can start by aiming for top ten finishes and after some work I think top five finishes, podiums and wins are certainly achievable. Jac has a really good attitude towards his racing and he’s at the right age to really move forward. I think our main focus will be working on decision making during a race. He’s got the pace to win, but I think decision making has let him down in or or two races this year. The Senior class contains a lot of professional and experienced drivers which will make it harder for Jac. Our first race together will be the PFI club meeting in February.”
It’s an interesting move for Jac. Piers Sexton has been very successful with the X30 engine especially in FKS where he won the Junior class with Tom Wood. He’ll have plenty to teach Jac moving up to the tougher Senior class, but is he the person to take him to that next level to see Jac going from a Club Champion to a British or World Champion? Only time will tell, either way Jac Maybin will be one to watch this season!
Jac joins APSM
Final word from Jac
“I’d like to thank everyone at BKC Racing for 2016 including Rob Dodds and Alex Ferris, they’re both so experienced and helped me get up to speed. I’d also like to thank all my loyal sponsors; Angle Consulting Ltd, Silverstone Paint Technology, Aspire Sports, CES Europe Ltd, 4 Front Interiors, Teng Tools & not forgetting my Gran & Grandad!”
“Most of all I’d like to thank my Dad for putting in the time and money and being my mechanic at every race along with all my other family and friends.”
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of Stu Stretton, Chris Walker (Kartpix) & Marc Quinlivan
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