Maxx Ebenal’s biography is a story of tenacity, determination,
and overcoming adversity, to pursue a childhood dream.
There are dime-a-dozen stories of privileged kids with a father
who was a driver or whose wealth paved the way for his or her
career. However, the need to truly struggle to achieve a dream
can either make or break a person – and Maxx Ebenal has truly
shown that he has been, and continues to be, willing to do the
quintessential ‘Whatever it Takes’ to make his racing dreams
“I’ve always loved speed and competition” says Ebenal.
“From BMX bikes to snowmobiles, and later of course,
fast street cars, I always felt the Need for Speed”.
Although Maxx realized early on that he wanted to make a career
as a racing driver, he didn’t have the financial means to pursue professionally what is the most expensive sport in the world. However, that certainly wasn’t going to stop Ebenal, who was no stranger to overcoming obstacles after having gone through two brain tumor operations at ages 13 and 16 years old.
“After you go through something like that, a life-threatening health issue at an early age, I guess a lot of things don’t seem as daunting as they were before – so working on the pipeline for 2 years, living in the back of my truck in the dead of winter to save every penny I could to get my racing career started – it wasn’t that bad.”
This understatement defines Ebenal’s ‘Can Do’ attitude.
In 2007, Ebenal attended the Bridgestone Racing Academy at Mosport International Raceway near Toronto, Canada, to work as a mechanic in exchange for a season in F2000 race cars with the money earned working on the pipeline. However, his previous health issue returned with a seizure just a month into the program, which prevented him from being able to compete in the 2007 season. In typical style, Ebenal surprised everyone by staying on in the program solely as a mechanic, waiting out for the 2008 season, when he was able to earn a medical clearance to race.
Returning to Bridgestone to finally take his first season behind the wheel in 2008, he distinguished himself by winning the Bridgestone MTP [Mechanic’s Racing Training Program] scholarship for a fully-sponsored racing season in 2009.
In 2009, Ebenal returned to Bridgestone, but due to cutbacks in the racing program, returned home to continue pursuing The Dream by any means necessary: this time, racing motorcycles. The next two years, Maxx worked as a mechanic on a Star Mazda team, learning as much as he could about racing, before doing another stint on the pipeline to save for whatever opportunity came up next.
Then, in the end of 2011, he was asked to relocate to the Zhuhai International Circuit in China by former Bridgestone competitor Pete Olson, who had been coaching and competing in China since 2009.
Olson said “I knew Maxx was extremely talented and hungry, with a bright future in racing – he just needed a break. So I asked him to come out and drive in the 2012 CFGP [China Formula Grand Prix] racing series, along with Abelardo Cuellar, also from Bridgestone. Of course, they were both fantastic in testing, especially with Maxx [as always] being lightning fast in the rain. Only thing was, it seemed that they did a bit too well, as just a few weeks before the first race, we were informed that ‘foreigners’ would no longer be allowed to compete in CFGP.”
However, Ebenal was spotted for his driving talent and work ethic and immediately picked up by Track Torque Motorsports, one of the leading touring car teams in China, where he took multiple podiums in touring car races before moving over to Formula Renault with PS Racing team in December 2013, under the tutelage of triple Formula Renault Champion Pekka Saarinen. He will be competing with PS Racing in his first Formula Renault season this year, with the first race weekend on March 21-23 at Zhuhai International Circuit.