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Thursday, May 30, 2024


FLYING under the radar on a chaotic final day of Dunlop Super2 Series action at Sandown was a fine accomplishment achieved by rookie Thomas Maxwell.

Maxwell became just the fourth driver in the past 16 years to score a pole position in their maiden Super2 season.

His company? James Moffat (2009), Scott Pye (2012) and Thomas Randle (2018).

Moffat and Pye have gone on to become Supercars Championship race winners, while Randle already has chalked up a front-row start in his first full year in the main game.

Maxwell’s effort was all the more impressive for coming in a field featuring 10 drivers who will line up in the Repco Bathurst 1000 next month.

The 24-year-old’s dream qualifying turned into a nightmare race, capped by a collision with the already crashed Super3 car of Jason Gomersall.

Nevertheless, he’s piecing together an impressive foundation with three top five finishes and a points tally almost 200 clear of MW Motorsport teammate Angelo Mouzouris, who is in his third season.

“I’ve always believed in myself and I don’t personally feel like I need the laps and the experience and miles that some other people might need to get up to speed, which has been a really big benefit,” Maxwell told V8 Sleuth.

“A bit of a mentor, Andy Priaulx, always told me the sport is about whoever can learn the quickest will be the quickest at the end, so I guess that has stuck with me.

“It has always been something for me, trying to keep progressing and learning throughout your career as you go.

Maxwell celebrates pole. Pic: MW Motorsport

“There’s always going to be a time where you don’t necessarily have the amount of laps and time in the seat that you might need and if you can pick something up super quick, it’s definitely going to be an advantage.”

Priaulx, of course, is a more than handy mentor to have in your corner, being a three-time World Touring Car Champion.

“He did a bit of managing with me when I was over in Europe racing Formula 3 and Formula Renault,” Maxwell explained of the connection.

“He kind of took me under his wing a little bit with his driver program over there which is really cool.

“Having key figures like him and probably more recently Dale Wood has been a big asset this year, it’s been good having a figure like that to steer you in the right direction and stop you from making some vital mistakes that some people have made over time.”

The forgotten point about Maxwell’s journey too is that he’s coming off two years out of the game.

Following a solid 2019 campaign in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, Maxwell tested an Eggleston Motorsport Supercar in December of that year… but did not race again until this season as he saved his pennies for an all-in post-COVID tilt.

The next phase of the plan is to win the 2023 Super2 crown – although a team change may be in order given MWM’s Nissans have been ruled ineligible to stay in the second tier beyond this year.

“It was always a two-year program in this championship,” he added.

“It’s a tricky car to learn, it’s a tricky tyre to learn so it’s one that’s obviously proved you need to go in and make your mistakes I guess, show your potential, and capitalise on your next year so that’s definitely the goal.

“With who, not 100 percent confirmed with anything at the moment.

“Obviously it’s going to be up in the air with what cars are where and who’s running what, et cetera, so I think it is just about seeing what is going to be the best opportunity to help me go out and win next year.

“That’s in reality going to be the one thing that matters the most.

“Like you can always have alignments with main game teams which is cool but at the end of the day I want to win the championship and that’s my end goal, not to run around the back just with a team just so I can get a co-drive.

“I want to go out and win a championship and get myself into the main game, that’s definitely the dream.”

Two Super2 rounds remain this season: Bathurst in October, and Adelaide in December.

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