REFLECTION AND ANTICIPATION


Matt Parry’s 2016 season may not have turned out the way he had hoped, but that will not stop him setting his sights on success for the coming year.

The Welshman’s GP3 Series campaign seemed on course for a possible top three championship battle before some Belgian bad luck and subsequent issues behind the scenes saw the points and podiums dry up over the second half of the year, but he has already received several promising opportunities for 2017 and is looking forward to exploring his options further over the coming weeks.

Building on a debut GP3 season that yielded eighth in the final standings, Parry brushed aside a scoreless opening round in Barcelona to begin racking up strong performances through to the summer break, highlighted by a maiden win at the Hungaroring and a battling display at Hockenheim that saw him take the fight to the eventual title contenders as he came through to claim another top three finish to take into the summer break. When the season resumed in Belgium, however, it seemed that Lady Luck had forgotten to make the trip to Spa-Francorchamps, with a repeat of 2015’s scoreless weekend precipitating a poor run of results that dropped the 22-year old to an eventual ninth in the final standings.

Parry’s cause was not helped by concerns at the Koiranen GP team, which saw its ability to compete with the likes of ART and Arden stymied by a loss of resources which hampered development through the second half of the season. Having started the year with four drivers on track in Barcelona, Koiranen had just two entries at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, limiting the amount of data available to Parry and surviving team-mate Matevos Isaakyan as they attempted to keep the team in contention for the sort of qualifying and race results achieved in the early rounds.

Despite the disappointment of not being able to build on his early form, Parry is not about to turn his back on single-seaters, with a late invitation to join Campos Racing for the final day of post-season testing at Yas Marina maintaining a link with the GP3 Series. It is offers outside the F1 supporting classes that offer more intrigue going forward, however, with promising outings in both Aston Martin and McLaren GT machinery opening new avenues to the multiple junior category champion.

Strakka Racing’s decision to turn its attention to the GT classes as a McLaren factory team comes with the intent to field four cars in next year’s Blancpain Series, and Parry starred amongst a host of young talent invited to try the marque’s 650S GT3 car at Navarra in Spain. Holding his own in esteemed company boosted the Welshman ahead of a scheduled run with the Prodrive-run Aston Martin Racing team at the World Endurance Championship’s official rookie test in Bahrain and, again, he displayed his ability – and ability to adapt – behind the wheel of the GTE class Vantage, matching the performance of the GP2 drivers he was ranged against in what was effectively a ‘shoot-out’ for a spot in the 2017 line-up. A follow-up test with AMR is scheduled for the start of the New Year.

Parry has also had talks with the Barwell Motorsport team about racing its Lamborghini Huracan in international competition but, as with any opportunity, the offer comes with contingencies.

“It’s good to know that, despite a disappointing 2016 campaign, I still have opportunities on the table for next year,” he said, “I don’t want to walk away from single-seaters as I still feel that I have unfinished business there, but I have to acknowledge that the number of available seats gets fewer the further you go up the ladder. With that in mind, I’m delighted to have attracted attention from the sportscar ranks, and am excited by the opportunities out there following my tests with Strakka and AMR.

“Of course, nothing comes for free in motorsport, and there is a lot of work to be done before we can confirm where I will be racing in 2017, but I’m extremely optimistic that an interesting season is in prospect. In an ideal world, I’d like to be able to combine both single-seaters and sportscars, but I can’t be too greedy… Let’s see what the New Year brings.

“In the meantime, I’d like to thank Koiranen GP for two fun seasons in GP3 – we might not have achieved all that we wanted, but they’re a great team and I wish them well for the future. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the supporters that have accompanied me on my journey this far and invite you to keep on riding in 2017, wherever the road takes us.”

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.