Matthew Parry is one of the UK’s most exciting young motorsport talents. You only have to see him race or Google search him to find a BBC feature declaring him one of the "UK’s fastest emerging motorsport talents". A fresh faced 22-year-old from Suffolk, Matt has already made a name for himself across the sport. In 2013, Matt won the 25th McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, following in the footsteps of the likes of David Coulthard, Jenson Button and Paul Di Resta. That same year, Matt was awarded Young Welsh Sportsman of the Year, previously won by a certain Gareth Bale. At the moment, you can catch Matt racing in Blancpain GT.
Recently, we had a chat with Matt just before his race at Silverstone, the legendary British racing track. He spoke about his incredible career history, gave us his top pro racing and track day tips and even sent some advice for driving experience day participants!What made you get into racing?
I was doing motocross with my dad on the weekends as a hobby. My mum came and watched me and she wasn’t very happy because it was dangerous so I tried something else. I saw a karting track and tried four wheels instead and it escalated from there. I started relatively late at about 10 or 11! Now it’s about 6 years old.Give us a run-down of your racing history?
I started in karting, club championship and British Championships and then World Championships. Then I moved to single seaters, I started in a Formula Ford Duratec and that’s where you learn your basic race craft. Then I moved into Formula Renault and did the Northern European Cup Championships and then the big highlight was doing GP3 for two years. I then made the transition to GT racing and now I’m currently racing for Motul Team RJN Motorsport in a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.What drivers have you looked up to?
You always look up to the guys winning the races. I’ve always looked up to what I want to achieve. As a child my inspiration came from two wheels so I’ve always looked up to Valentino Rossi and how he approaches racing. He’s charming but I respect the ferocity he brings to racing. He’s got technical ability where he’s made a Motorbike like the Yamaha the quickest on the grid when it’s not really that fast.What’s the ultimate ‘don’t do’?
Hit another driver! That’s pretty bad. I would say the highest you climb, it’s so important to understand the flags. The amount of times people make mistakes in qualifiers. The biggest mistake you can make is not following the rules, whether that’s having contact or not following the flag rules.What’s it like to race at Silverstone?
I’ve been fortunate enough to do so much running at Silverstone, including with McLaren and Nissan. It’s one of the best circuits because it’s a combination between high speed and technical. I really enjoy it. Especially the Maggotts and Becketts complex which everybody talks about. When you’re driving through there in any car, a Nissan Micra or an F1 car, it’s something really special, especially when you get it right.Best car you’ve driven and why?
I’d have to say the McLaren F1 at Silverstone. It was a highlight of my career as all my family were here to watch. It was a combination of the driving and the position I was in at that stage so I have to say that. What an experience! There’s nothing that compares to that car in terms of braking which is one of the main things. The braking ability of the car is phenomenal. But at the moment I love driving the Nissan and I’m not just saying this. It’s great to drive. We have a great stream line speed and its fantastic for GT because we don’t have so much aero so we don’t have the dirty aero factor which means we can race. That’s what a real racing driver likes; to be able to race.
When you move up to the higher levels of the sport, braking efficiency is where the most time is found. If you can utilise the brakes it can be one of your biggest tools.
Don’t try and rush it. A lot of track day drivers think they can be a hero on the first lap and the problem is they end up spinning or going off which hits their confidence. So take the first two laps slowly and then build on it throughout the day.