His uncle won nine rounds of the World Rally Championship in one. Gramps used one to lift a pair of British titles. His dad? He finished fourth on the RAC then dominated a couple of British Open rounds in one.
With a family history like that, it’s little wonder Max McRae has gone for a Ford in the next step in his rallying education. The 15-year-old is hoping to use his recently acquired Ford Fiesta ST on gravel rallies in his native Western Australia later this season.
“He’s been using a Suzuki Swift on some smaller events,” Max’s father Alister told DirtFish. “But he’s been keen to move up a bit in terms of car and pace. He’s already done some testing in it locally. It went well. He’s 16 in June, so the plan was for him to be doing some WA gravel events later in the year. We’ll have to see how everything works out now.”
Alister has already completed a couple of events in the co-driver’s seat, but the British and Asia Pacific Rally champion admitted his talents were still best served with a wheel in his hands.
“I was watching him driving too much and then forgetting to call the notes,” said Alister. “I think he prefers it when he’s got gramps in the car with him!”
The youngest member of the three-generation McRae dynasty reveals his preferred co-driver in a DirtFish column, written to mark a new association between DirtFish and the McRae family.
Alister added: “Dad and I have known Steve [Rimmer, DirtFish owner] for a long time now and we’ve been fortunate enough to drive some of his cars. We did a week in Wales last year driving some amazing stuff [of Steve’s], it was fantastic.
“We’ve all seen how DirtFish is shaking up the media side of rallying, so to be part of that is pretty exciting for Max and all of us. We’d got some plans to do some stuff with Steve, but for now everything’s one ice. Once we’re back, it’ll be great to really get this thing moving.”
DirtFish owner Rimmer was equally complimentary about the partnership.
“Like so many around the world, the McRae name was a fundamental part of my rallying education,” said Steve. “I remember watching Jimmy on the RAC and then watching Colin and Alister a little further afield as I was in America building the business by then.
“I’ve always had a huge admiration and appreciation for what they’ve done for our sport. But beyond the victories, the stories and the cars, they’re just really nice people and a fantastic family. It’s a pleasure for us to be working with Max as he looks to help carry our sport’s biggest name into the future.”
Max will carry DirtFish decals on his racesuit and car – including in his current Formula 1000 single-seater race programme at home in Australia.
The teenager impressed on his series debut earlier this year.
Alister explained: “He retired from race one when he had a problem with the paddleshift. That meant he started from the back of the grid for the second race and I’ve got to be honest, I was a wee bit apprehensive. Suddenly these things are so much quicker than karts and he was surrounded by more experienced drivers.”
He needn’t have worried. McRae Jr recorded the fastest lap and finished fourth, before finishing right under the rear wing of the winner Jordan Oon in the final race.
“It was pretty impressive,” said Alister. “He came through the field really well and was right with the guy who won by the finish. His lap times at Barbagallo [Wanneroo Raceway] were comparable to the times the V8s [Australian Supercars] are doing there, so he wasn’t hanging around.”