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Interview: Max Hanratty, IMSA LMP3 Race Driver & Auto Entrepreneur

max hanratty wearing a racing helmet

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with professional race car driver, Max Hanratty. As part of the Fast MD Racing team, Max currently competes in the IMSA LMP3 class where he pilots a Nissan-powered Duqueine M30-D08.

max hanratty racing in the Nissan-powered Duqueine M30-D08

Being a motorsports fan myself, I have always been fascinated with people who are able to compete at the highest levels—and ultimately, what makes them tick.

In our interview with Max, we cover a variety of motorsports topics that allow us to dive deeper into the psyche of a professional race car driver.

Here, he provides insight about his personal career aspirations, discusses the importance of cultivating an elite mentality, reveals what he’s been up to outside the cockpit, and much more.

Max’s multifaceted approach to professional motorsports is highlighted throughout our conversation, which you can read in the full transcript provided below. Enjoy!

Interview Transcript

SCD: Hi Max. On behalf of our team and all our readers at, thank you for taking the time to chat with us.

Before we dive in, I’d like to congratulate you on participating in your 7th successive season of racing in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).

We’ve compiled a variety of questions for you, some of which were selected from our pool of readers.

MH: Thank you—us drivers are fortunate to do what we do, and it’s been an exciting journey so far!

SCD: You’re in the offseason now and you’ve had some time off to reflect on this year’s competition. What’re your thoughts and how’re you feeling? Mind sharing with us what you’ve been up to during this time?

MH: It was a bit of a rough year for us, between the bumps at Sebring and the high temps at Watkins Glen, we’ve had a few mechanical issues that prevented us from the result we’re looking for. That’s racing though, you have to build resiliency and shift focus to the next one.

Max Hanratty head shot

SCD: Are there any specific race moments from the 2022 season that stand out for you? How do they measure up to your best moments in motorsports (please elaborate a bit on those)?

MH: Sebring qualifying comes to mind. I’ve had very limited “seat time” the last two seasons with minimal testing. My first time in any sort of race car for over 5 months and was able to qualify P4, just 0.5 sec from pole position.

SCD: You get to drive on some of the most famous racetracks in the world. What’s your favorite track to race on? Do you have a favorite turn (or sector) in particular?

MH: Petit Le Mans is one of the best events in the world. The track suits my driving style very well. I’d say my favorite sector is turn 3 through the esses at night, because it’s the darkest part of the track and you have very little room for error.

max hanratty racing in the Nissan-powered Duqueine M30-D08 at night.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to race at some of the best circuits in the world, specifically my days in the European & Asian Le Mans Series, but I have to say there’s something special about Road Atlanta.”

SCD: You’ve competed in both the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship and the Prototype Challenge. Any plans to race in other IMSA-sanctioned series, such as the Carrera Cup and Ferrari Challenge?

MH: I’m very focused on Le Mans Prototypes. I’m currently at the LMP3 level and have aspirations to move up to the newly announced DTP or Hypercar class in the future.

SCD: Tell us a bit about the car you currently race, and some of the ones you’ve driven in the past. Do you have a favorite competition/category and/or a particular race car you enjoy driving the most?

MH: The LMP3 car is a lot of fun to drive. It’s mostly carbon fiber and has a lot of downforce and good power. It races well and is reliable. Not much more you can ask for!

“Sportscar endurance racing is it for me. The multi-class racing, pit stops with driver changes, night racing and an overload of on-track action makes for an extremely exciting and competitive environment.”

max hanratty exiting the car during a pit stop

SCD: Do you mind briefly sharing with us, how you got started with racing, and the journey you took to get to where you are in your career today?

MH: My dad gifted me a 3-day racing school with Skip Barber for my high school graduation. I had no karting experience and to be honest very little knowledge of the sport as a whole. It was supposed to be something fun and casual, but quickly evolved into much more than that.

I got recruited by Michael Duncalfe, who is the team owner for Exclusive Autosport. He runs a very successful program that’s been growing year after year. I started in his first ever year with his team, driving f1600 cars in the Canadian championships.

Max Hanratty in a USD2000 car

From there I transitioned to the Mazda Road to Indy, where I did a few years of USF2000 and the Pro Mazda Championship, before transitioning to sportscar racing where I joined legendary team owner Scott Sharp and Extreme Speed Motorsports and haven’t looked back since.

SCD: What’re your longer-term goals as a professional racer? Do you have a path mapped out? Where do you see it leading to, ultimately?

MH: I want to race at the highest levels in sportscar endurance racing, specifically in the new DTP and HyperCar Class. The 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indy 500 are two other bucket list events.

“I have a dream of becoming a team owner/driver and bringing in some of the best talent to try and win major championships.”

SCD: What advice can you give to aspiring young drivers who are dreaming of the opportunity to race professionally, like you? On the flip side, what should you not do in the quest to go pro?

MH: I think the best advice I can give is find the right mentor. The people that you surround yourself with will either catapult you into success, or drag you into obscurity. Equally, don’t surround yourself with the wrong people.

 Chris Green

SCD: What’s the best way to get started in racing for those who are new to it? Are there any specific routes or programs that you’d recommend, based on your experience racing at a high level?

MH: I had an unusual start beginning at age 18. I’d recommend starting on a sim to get the basic fundamentals down then transitioning to karting. A big thing to think about during your development is “cost per lap”.

“The more you can learn early on through cost-effective seat time, the farther your budget will go in the future. Money is usually the first thing that ends a career, not talent.”

SCD: What separates the best drivers from the good ones—and what ends up being the biggest differentiating factor for those who manage to make a career in racing, and those who don’t?

MH: I feel the best drivers are able to get in a “flow state” frequently and perform at an extremely high level. It’s almost as if they are defying physics when they’re behind the wheel. A mix of good decision making and consistency are the keys to success.

Those who make it have a versatile skill set that goes beyond just being a great driver. They have personalities that attract sponsors and fans, or maybe they have a unique talent when it comes to engineering the car set up.

SCD: Technical skills are obviously important in becoming a top driver, but having a winning mentality is also key. How do you stay mentally prepared? Is this something you focus on right before a race, or do you always have to be “switched on”?

MH: I firmly believe mentality is the key differentiator between good and great drivers. It’s so important and something that needs to be switched on at all times.

“If you want to be great, it needs to be a lifestyle.”

I’ve also found that this “switched on” mentality has especially helped me grow my startup.

SCD: Most people look at race car drivers as athletes. Is physical fitness a big part of the equation too? If so, what do your work out regimens focus on?

MH: Physical fitness is extremely important especially in endurance racing and I challenge anyone who says race car drivers aren’t athletes to give it a try. I do a lot of sport specific circuit training, boxing, heavy cardio, etc.

One thing I always try to implement is reaction and brain training during recovery periods. Trying to have maximum focus and coordination while exhaustion kicks in is a great training tactic for any driver.

SCD: I understand that your passion for motorsports extends well beyond the confines of a race car cockpit. In fact, you started a company—MPH.Digital—through which you’ve created apps to provide improved experiences for motorsports fans and enthusiasts. Tell us more!

MH: Yes! I’m very passionate about fan engagement.

For the last 25+ years there’s been exponential innovation when it comes to the cars on track, but as the sport continues to grow, the fan experience remains ready for a revolution and now is the time to capitalize on today’s excitement around racing.

With Track King, we have the most immersive venue maps and schedules in motorsports and we help fans (new and old) navigate race day effortlessly.

 Track King takes care of your popcorn needs on race day, too
Track King takes care of your popcorn needs on race day, too

SCD: General question. What’s life like being a race car driver—the best parts and the most difficult parts? Does MPH.Digital sort of blend into this, or do you see it more as a separate endeavor?

MH: The best parts are it brings you around the world and you get to meet some very interesting people. The art of driving, engineering and sponsorship is very rewarding when you get it right, but also extremely stressful when things aren’t clicking.

“It’s not always the most talented driver that gets the seat. It’s a lot of times dependent on funding and that’s a difficult pill to swallow and a big reason as to why I put a lot of emphasis on sponsorship early on in my career.”

SCD: Who (or what) inspires you the most to do what you do professionally? Are there any drivers who you look up to?

MH: I had the pleasure of training with Scott Dixon early in my career at PitFit Training in Indianapolis. It was inspiring to see what he brings day-in-and-day-out, and his attention-to-detail on the little things.

Even with all the success he’s had as a driver it doesn’t seem to affect his work ethic and that’s something that I think is really important and motivating.

SCD: What’re some things you’ve learned from motorsport that have helped you in other areas of your life? Are there any lessons that motorsports—being a race car driver in particular—has really drilled into you?

MH: Motorsports is tough, it’s very expensive to practice, there’s a lot of factors outside your control and it’s extremely difficult to win races. There’s very low lows and high highs.

 Jordan Lenssen

“There’s a lot that racing has prepared me for, specifically when it comes to my company and going through the journey of an entrepreneur.”

I always find myself comparing running a startup to driving a race car on the limit.

SCD: What’re your favorite production (street legal) cars to drive? Do you have a favorite “driver’s car”?

MH: I’ve driven different variations of the BMW X3 pretty much my entire life. I like the mix of luxury and performance it has to offer, but…

“…someday I want to own a vintage Porsche.”

SCD: Can you list the top 10 (or top 5, if that’s too long) cars you’ve driven, overall? Do you ever go to the racetrack “for fun” as opposed to professional reasons?


  1. LMPC
  2. LMP3
  3. Prototype Lites
  4. Pro Mazda
  5. Formula 1600
Max piloting a Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC)
Max piloting a Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC)

SCD: Sim Racing. From the perspective of a professional race car driver, what’s your overall verdict on it?

MH: I think it’s a great tool to use for training (for the following reasons) :

  1. Learning new tracks and getting a good sight picture
  2. Getting in a flow and feeling the rhythm of the track
  3. Builds confidence going into a race weekend

 max hanratty sim racing

SCD: Cookie-cutter question. What would you likely be doing if you weren’t a professional race car driver?

MH: I’m not entirely sure which path I would have taken if I didn’t get involved in racing. This was never the plan.

“It took me completely by surprise and has provided many amazing experiences and opportunities, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.”

SCD: That concludes our interview, Max! On behalf of everyone at, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.

I hope you had as much fun as we did.

We’re certain that our readers will find the dialogue not only entertaining, but insightful as well. Your multifaceted approach to motorsports is a great example for aspiring race car drivers and enthusiasts to learn from.

We wish you all the best in the coming season and beyond!

MH: Thank you for your time! Honored to be a part of the interview and happy holidays to everyone!

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