At only 11 years of age, the young Franco-Luxembourg driver Maxime FURON CASTELAIN has just completed a masterful period in the Cadet category with 11 victories during his last 13 races, a rare series in the history of the discipline.
Maxime started his 2018 season with a dilemma: according to the new technical regulations in France, he had to change chassis size again, for the third time in three years, before changing again the following year.
After a rigorous series of tests, Maxime took a bold gamble despite his small stature: choosing categories with a large chassis which he felt comfortable with and will be used in the years to come. He then joined the famous Belgian team VDK Racing as the youngest driver and, thanks to his dual nationality, pursued, under his Luxembourg license, progression in the Benelux in renowned events which are widely open to foreign drivers.
And once again, the young rookie showed a great ability to adapt: discovering a new chassis size, a new IAME engine and wet tyres, he managed to complete a perfect season on new tracks by winning each of the Cadet events he participated in. But above all he won the seven Finals of the IAME Series Benelux and Belgium in 2018 and accumulated the greatest number of points in each of these two Championships with strong international participation. And in addition, with a rare maturity on the track: he did not lose a single spoiler during the season.
"I have had a lot of success since my debut, podiums and victories have been frequent: already more than 30. But the 2018 season was really special for me because it taught me a lot. First, because it was very intense and difficult. The standard was very high, I was not always the fastest and I had to fight for each result, setting a time four thousandths of a second ahead or attack five times in four laps before winning. I also gained experience overtaking while learning lessons like in heat 1 of the International Open when the Estonian Ruben Volt beat me by more than eight seconds in the rain.
"I also know that I prefer the Championships with several events over the titles awarded after a single race. To win at the end of several events, you have to be the best before the start each time. That's also why my 2018 Belgian Junior Championship with four wins in four races is an important step.”
And to be the best throughout the season, Maxime also intensified his work away from the track in 2018 with his sporting fitness now overseen by Pierre Prandi Adnet every week and with regular sessions with his mental coach, Marie Lanners.
"Next year, I'll make my debut in OK-Junior, which is, it seems, at age 11, a challenge. So, I will continue to take the races one by one in 2019, preparing myself as seriously as my education allows me. In 2018, we did not have a specific sporting goal with VDK, and we won everything together. This is how we are going to approach this rookie year in OK-Junior ".
"Motorsports are team sports. After four years of racing, the list of people who have allowed me to reach my current level is already too long to mention them all. They and I know what I owe them, and I thank them very sincerely. A special mention for the CIK-FIA, the ACL Sport of Luxembourg, my team VDK Racing and Olivier Cèbe for allowing me to participate in the pre-race tests of the IAME World Final at Le Mans in X30 Junior, while I was too young to officially participate in the competition despite my qualification.
"Finally for me in 2018, there is the sorrow caused by the death of my driver friend Amaury Meertens with whom I raced in Junior. But I receive more and more encouragement from all sides, during my victories as well as my problems, such as my stay in hospital after a crash in testing. Thank you to all of you. With you, the adventure continues in 2019".