About

Matt Parry is fast emerging as one of the UK’s leading motorsport talents, but there’s more to the likeable Bury St Edmunds youngster than meets the eye.

In common with some of the racing’s biggest names, Matt’s introduction to motorsport came on two wheels, as he joined dad Simon ‘green-laning’ on motocross bikes from the age of eight. Although purely a fun activity for the weekends, Matt quickly became a more accomplished rider, but a trip to the Wildtracks facility near Newmarket was to play an important part in shaping his future.

Spotting the venue’s recently-completed tarmac circuit, the then ten-year old suggested that he ‘might prefer’ karting, and so it proved, with his interest in the category growing rapidly. Joining the Hoddesdon club at Rye House, Matt’s first kart was a Deavinson – bought as a complete package ‘because we knew no better’, and transported on the bike trailer – on which he proceeded to learn his craft.

Dad Simon openly admits that the first few months were ‘amateur stuff’, but again Matt quickly showed promise and, after undertaking some training and early races at Rye House, the decision was made to launch the eleven-year old straight into Minimax.

After a short introduction to the class, Matt’s talent soon emerged, the youngster remaining unbeaten between September and March and prompting observers to suggest that he could go shopping at the nearby supermarket midway through a race and still be back on track to take victory!

With that winning record behind him, the decision to step up to national competition came easily, although Matt’s first season in Stars of Tomorrow was a true privateer effort. It was also an eye-opening experience, with 15th place overall at the end of the season providing a stark contrast to his local success.

Realising that Matt’s ability required a more polished outfit to bring the best out of him, he joined the Ultimate Motorsport operation for a combined Stars/Super 1 assault in 2008. The year started well, with Matt an immediate frontrunner in both competitions, but went downhill from mid-season after an acrimonious split within the team that saw his kart performance suffer. Although he eventually finished third overall in Stars, his S1 campaign was hit when victory in round one was lost to disqualification on technical grounds, and never recovered.

A rethink for 2009 saw Matt step up again, entering Junior Max despite having a year of Minimax eligibility remaining. After the upheaval at Ultimate, he also swapped teams, joining Paul Carr Racing to contest the renamed Formula Kart Stars, Super 1 and RGMMC Rotax Euro Challenge in a packed season.

The move paid off handsomely as Matt immediately proved to be a frontrunner, despite finding himself up against a field with greater experience. PCR’s expertise counted too, as the class changed barrels mid-season, but Matt never missed a beat, going on to win races in all three competition.

A single success in S1 was backed up by consistent podium appearances, and he went to the final round with a shout of taking the title. However, despite out-scoring seasoned eventual champion Ed Brand over the course of the year, Matt was undone by the dropped scores rule, leaving him second in the standings.

Formula Kart Stars was a different story, however, with Matt dominating from the off, claiming the first FKS Junior Rotax win under the series’ new alignment with Formula One and going on to take a further five victories as he racked up a 1124-point total that confirmed him as champion.

Perhaps his greatest accomplishment, however, came overseas, where his consistency produced a top three championship position in the Rotax Euro Challenge highlighted by a first international victory at Sosnova in the Czech Republic. The overall result was good enough to earn Matt a place in the Rotax World Finals at Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt in December 2009. And what a finals they proved to be, as Matt’s qualifying performances earned him pole position for into the most important race of the weekend, before he finished second overall after a tough three-way battle to the flag.

The success naturally led to a lot of interest for 2010, with tempting offers to remain in Rotax or move to KF3. However, Matt’s options were no longer limited to karts, with Formula Palmer Audi, Junior Formula Ford and Ginetta Juniors all on the radar, although his interest in rallying, he assures us, is not something he is considering pursuing in the future.

2010 was also GCSE year so, sensibly, Matt committed himself to just one national series – the prestigious Super 1 British Championship, which he won with points to spare after leading the standings throughout. He kept his hand in with regular appearances at his club, Trent Valley KC at PF International, and duly won the Junior Rotax class there as well...

Having achieved above average GCSE results from County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds, Matt is continuing his education by studying for a National Diploma in Engineering at West Suffolk College and participating in the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) with the MSA at Loughborough.

With single-seaters always the aim for 2011, Matt enjoyed several successful tests with Formula Renault team Antel Motorsport but, having been selected to join the Caterham F1 team’s Driver Development Programme, was encouraged to start his career in Formula Ford, where he was run by Van Diemen works outfit Fluid Motorsport Developments. Despite heading into his rookie season, Matt was also selected as the number one pick in Motorsport News magazine’s annual ‘Fast 50’ list of young talents likely to shine heading into a busy UK and international campaign.

Running as the lone car as Fluid battled the Mygale hordes was always going to be tough for Matt, but he stuck to his task, coming close to the podium on several occasions as he finished seventh in the overall standings and claimed honours as the best rookie in the typically-competitive field. He was also the best non-Mygale runner in the end-of-season Formula Ford Festival, while the series of one-off Eurocup events saw the youngster claim a number of season-best fourth-place finishes.

With a year of experience under his belt, 2012 would prove to be a pivotal season for Matt, with Caterham placing him in the UK-based InterSteps Series for former Formula BMW cars. On the pace from the start, the Welshman dominated, setting new records for the number of wins, podiums and points scored as he claimed the title at a canter.

Matt’s progress up the single-seater ladder continued in Formula Renault, where he stuck with the Fortec Motorsport team that took him to InterSteps success and graduated to the FRenault Northern European Cup. The season took in seven rounds across the continent, running on a number of well-known grand prix circuits along the way, and Matt again aced the opposition, claiming six race wins en route to a second consecutive title.

The championship title not only earned Matt a chance to sample Formula Renault 3.5 machinery, but also helped earn a place amongst the final six candidates for the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award. Two full days of track assessment in unfamiliar DTM, F2 and GT cars were combined with fitness tests and panel interviews before Matt was finally revealed as the 25th winner of the crown at the annual Autosport Awards night.

Success in the FRNEC led to a second year in Formula Renault, but now in the more prestigious Eurocup competition that had spawned multiple F1 drivers. Unfortunately for Matt, 2014 proved to be tougher than either of the previous two years, as disappointing qualifying form limited him to a single podium and an unrepresentative eleventh in the standings. Sporadic outings in the Italian-based FRenault ALPS series were more productive, but left Matt with a quandary for the 2015 campaign.

Those questions were put on the backburner for one glorious day, meanwhile, as the highlight of Matt's reign as McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner put him at the wheel of a McLaren F1 car for a series of runs on the full grand prix layout at Silverstone.

A third year in Formula Renault - and a return to the Eurocup - appeared on the cards for 2015 when Matt was offered the chance to step up to the F1-supporting GP3 Series with the Koiranen GP team. A fresh start proved just what the doctor ordered, with Matt claiming a string of impressive qualifying performances and joining the eventual title contenders on the podium at round three, on home soil at Silverstone. Two further podium finishes followed as Matt cemented a top eight overall position with some typically feisty displays, marking himself out as one to watch and providing useful experience as he heads into 2016...

While a busy schedule makes it difficult to find time for any other leisure pursuits, away from the track he manages to combine interests in skiing, flying and mountain biking. Already a keen, accomplished and advanced skier, Matt also enjoy riding out on the roads of South Wales as part of his training programme between motorsport commitments. A member of Sport Wales ‘Elite Cymru’ scheme, he also has access to the superb conditioning and preparation facilities at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, and is looking forward to carrying the Welsh Dragon into battle.

Matt’s passion for flying, meanwhile, has seen him begin lessons that should, eventually, lead to him acquiring his Private Pilots Licence. The interest also has possible long-term implications for the youngster, who has one eye on becoming a commercial pilot should his motorsport ambitions not be fulfilled.