Max Coates is set to be replace former F1 driver Martin Donnelly in the Support Our Paras Racing team driver line up alongside Derek Palmer at Croft this weekend.

The 21-year-old will make his debut in the BTCC and has not contested a full racing season since finishing sixth in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2011.

Coates has enjoyed brief stints in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup and the Porsche Carrera Cup over the past four seasons and is delighted to secure a full-time drive, but is well aware of the challenge ahead of him.

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"I'm under no illusion as to how hard the racing will be. This is the first part of a long-term plan with the team and I am very excited about opportunities both now and in the future," Coates said. "Racing in the BTCC will be a dream come true.

"There has been a lot of hard work, from a number of people, behind the scenes over the last five years since I joined the TOCA paddock. Kicking off my BTCC career at Croft, my home circuit, will be something special."

Support Our Paras Racing team principal Derek Palmer Snr has welcomed the Yorkshire-based driver to the team with open arms and hopes he can help the youngster make strong progress.

"I'm delighted to welcome Max to the team. We know what he's capable of, and he has bags of potential which we're confident we'll be able to nurture and develop," Palmer Snr said. "It's an exciting appointment for the team, and we're looking forward to working together for the rest of the season, and into 2016."

The British squad had to cutback to one Infiniti Q50 car at Oulton Park after the Infiniti factory pulled out of its commitment to the team, but Coates new deal sees the squad return to a full accompaniment.