Former rally racer scores four victories in Inaugural SprintX Campaign
VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada – Max Riddle had a couple of wily veterans on his side during the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge road racing trail.
As the 26-year-old Vancouver, B.C., Canada native looked for his first PWC point championship in the inaugural SprintX GTS campaign, driver Kris Wilson and TRG team owner Kevin Buckler served as his mentors and teammates in the six-race tour with their No. 07 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
Riddle, a former karting champion and rally racer, used Wilson’s vast on-track experience and Buckler’s keen strategy to score four wins and a series title in his first full-season in the Pirelli World Challenge.
“I just could not ask for better guys to work with than Kris and Kevin,” said Riddle, who began his racing career at age 11 in the Canadian karting ranks. “Their experience is just so valuable and it really helped my race craft throughout the year. Plus, I think the SprintX format is the wave of the future in sports car racing. It has been very successful in Europe with the SRO tours. And it is very exciting for the fans.”
The SprintX events proved to be thrilling last-lap contests for the 60-minute, two-driver concept and Riddle was able to win with the assistance of Wilson, Buckler and a solid TRG team.
“The SprintX format takes a combination of an endurance background, a team aspect and a strong strategy and that is what Kevin and the TRG squad has developed,” said Riddle. “Kris was a teammate of dad’s (David) for several years and they won races in several different road racing series. And the TRG team has been a series contender for decades.”
Riddle and Wilson, the road racing veteran from Littleton, Colo., started off the 2016 season with an impressive four victories in a row with doubleheader triumphs at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Utah Motorsports Campus. And they secured the SprintX GTS title with a second place finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“With Kris, I knew we had an excellent driver lineup and TRG does amazing race prep on the Aston Martins,” said Max, who defeated his TRG-AMR teammate Derek Deboer for the SprintX GTS Sportsman title. “The management is great on the team and you knew everything was under control. Kevin and his team have made everything easier for Kris and myself when we jump into the car. I want to thank Kris, Kevin and the TRG-AMR team as well as my dad for all of the assistance throughout the year.”
Riddle started his career in karting and earned a spot on the Canadian Rotax team, traveling to Portugal to compete in the Rotax Karting World Finals. Max moved to cars at age 16 and competed in the Mazda MX-5 series. For four years, Riddle was a regular in the North America rally competition before returning to road racing.
In 2015, he made his Pirelli World Challenge debut at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in sensational fashion with a pole position and new track record in the GTS division. He went on to place second in the 50-minute sprint event.
“After the 2015 GTS performance, we felt we could jump into the new SprintX series with a strong effort with TRG,” Riddle explained. “My dad had raced with Kris many years and he felt Kris would be great teammate for me. He was definitely right as Kris was always able to give me confidence and strategy throughout the year. We knew we had a title contending team from the start.”
Riddle and Wilson partnered on-track while Buckler and his operation worked their precision in the garage area and behind the scenes. The combination proved to be a winning one.
“During the doubleheader weekends, I’ll start one race and the finish the next one,” Riddle said. “I actually like starting the races over being the second driver in the car. The cockpit in the Aston Martin gets extremely hot and you need to be in excellent shape to wheel around that big sedan. I train up to five days a week to be prepared for that kind of heat at the steering wheel.”
But Riddle enjoys his driving the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and now looks forward to the 2017 season.
“I’m not sure our game plan just yet as my wife, Megan, is expecting our first child at the beginning of the year,” said Max. “But hopefully I can return to the Pirelli World Challenge and defend my championship. I really think the PWC series is one of the best sports car series in the world. It’s fun and very competitive.”
In 2017, the PWC SprintX campaign is set to kickoff at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) on April 28-30.