CELEBRITY GUEST SPEAKER
Perry McCarthy’s incredible story is legendary. He is a championship winning racing driver, best-selling author and was ‘The Stig’ from the BBC Top Gear motoring show.
The means by which a racing driver can reach the pinnacle of Motor Sports is eased considerably if they hail from the” right side of the tracks” … Perry was born in Stepney, East London – a place that has historically produced remarkably few successful racing drivers. Perry’s story is truly one of a kind.
Funding his early career by working on the Oil Rigs of the North Sea, Perry raced in Formula Ford, Formula 3, eventually F3000 and various sports car races in the US before testing for the Footwork Formula One team in 1991. His Formula One break however didn’t come until 1992 when he was signed by the independent Andrea Moda team. Ultimately the team’s efforts descended into something of a farce, yet (along with Perry’s battle to secure his FIA Super Licence in time) make for a tense but hugely entertaining chapter in Perry’s wonderful autobiography, “Flat Out, Flat Broke”.
Further tests for Williams and Benetton precipitated a brief retirement before a return to Sports Car Racing – including 5 appearances at Le Mans between 1996 and 2003.
Perry’s bubbly character coupled with his determination, resilience, and absolute refusal to concede defeat has made him a highly popular personality within the sport.
The Telegraph headlined him as ‘a new cult hero’ and F1 World Champion Damon Hill said, ‘I have constant admiration on how he turns a no hope situation into some sort of triumph’.
Perry McCarthy entertains and engages audiences by speaking with humour and passion, about the fiercely competitive demands of international motor racing and what it takes as an individual and as a team to survive and progress in it.
Richard Farleigh, from TV’s Dragons’ Den (Shark Tank in US) commented: Perry is extremely bright and witty. He has two traits I admire: the ability to simplify complicated explanations; and the ability to make people laugh.
The Independent on Sunday published: Perry McCarthy does for Formula One what Bill Bryson did for travel writing. But beneath the black humour and wisecracks – funny enough to make you laugh out loud in public – lies an inspiring and at times poignant tale of that rarest kind of racer: one who never gave up and was, literally, prepared to die trying.’