This is the raw transcript of the recording and needs tidying up but for those who like a read its all below.
Speaker 1: (00:04)
Morning Perry McCarthy the original Stig from top top gear. Perry, let's kick off this interview. Just give me a brief history of your driving career
Speaker 2: (00:21)
brief history, I never followed motor racing. when I got to college I started because a friend of mine, who was really a big, big fan and I started drawing formula one cars because I was studying art amongst a few other things and I really got into the sport, really enjoyed reading about the drivers and at the same time, I was just started driving on the road, which wasn't everybody's cup of tea to be quite Frank, but these two things, that I really enjoyed my driving very much indeed. And then a couple of fluke things happened and a pal of mine actually set up that the chief instructor of brands hatch come out to meet me, because worried about my driving was kind of getting around the bend. And, uh, he turned up at this music shop where I was demonstrating some pianos and I said, I'm like, yeah, I want you to come with me.
Speaker 2: (01:18)
I've heard about driving basically. So we went to brands hatch. I took them around, messed up considerably thinking I was Jack the lad. Yes. Didn't I get it quick but like, you know, not good. He was about 60 at the time, Graham, you know, and was fantastic. Just show me exactly how it should be done. The only thing is I did kind of learn quickly so I got back in and then just absolutely blasted it and but did it well. Mmm. It was right there. And then that Liz said is kind of, he felt that was the best they'd ever seen. Um, which is pretty good because I, I wanted it to have something to do cause I was pretty crappy at everything else. That was it. The decision was made to say, right, I want to be a racing driver. You said I've got to be a racing driver.
Speaker 2: (02:05)
But then I found out they tax money a lot of money. So I went to work on Lucio oryx for the next two years or so, um, to get the money to get to stop. So then I came straight into formula Ford, uh, against a lot of people with their carting backgrounds, international cards, UK cards, et cetera, and formula 40 single seaters. It looks like a formula one cup, but much more, but with no wings back then, et cetera. The ideal way to start this out. Yeah, we'll add some started in karting, but then Santa came into form and is, it's the proven pathway really. And I kicked off very, very quick, uh, but didn't know what I was doing. Race strategy zero to keep it on the track was pretty much zero. Um, but I stepped three poles out, six races, and then I got my act together a bit more, started thinking a bit more, um, one of the British championship and then a year out after a big crash and he came back formula three against Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert, Mark Blundell. But there's a whole bunch of us that kind of
Speaker 1: (03:14)
Speaker 2: (03:17)
big nights. Big bucks. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Uh, and then after that it was international from the 3000 so that was the level, just below four middle one and then finally getting into formula one with a really small team, good on drown mode up, which was a disaster.
Speaker 1: (03:33)
Do you want to relate this experience?
Speaker 2: (03:36)
Nice. It was a disaster. You know, I mean there's one thing I'm thankful for about, about that experience is that I'm actually sitting here talking to you today because that could have ended badly. They were,
Speaker 1: (03:48)
but at least this this near fight or experience with them.
Speaker 2: (03:52)
Yeah, well that, I mean that was a, the biggest example of that with them was in qualifying for the Belgium grand Prairie and I went into what's called overage, which is a really, you know, it's a big book corner, but certainly was back then. Yeah, absolutely. Flat out and yet slightly left a compression and you've got to get it right. Then going up a Hill and then a kink on the left and a on the exit and turning into about, I don't know, I think it was about 196, 195 the steering jam. Anyway, long story short, I felt it immediately jam the brakes on and still only just made the corner because of the tightening. And I suddenly thought, okay, the steering racks flexing. So what that means is that we've, even that piece of rubbish, there was dynamic download, download it, push, but it flex the steering rack. And if you flex the steering rack, you can't have the steering arm go in. That's why it says I was very lucky I did everything right. But I was also lemon lucky on that. Um, when I came in I found out that they knew the steering rack.
Speaker 2: (05:00)
So then you go, well, this isn't proper form at one team. That was it. So it's the, the F one dream was left in taxes. So cut. Long story short, I then came back into what's called sportscar sign for Lotus and then Chrysler and then panels and ended up with a Audi, which is, if you're not informative one, you want to be writing for Audi. I'm sorry that did skip being in America for two years where things went through well for me. So that was great. So yeah, I've been around the block a bit Graham as you know.
Speaker 1: (05:29)
Absolutely. I mean, you know, um, you know, um, after reading your book flat out flat broke as well, which is a great read I've got, I'll give that a plug very cause it is a great rate if you're on a beach, which done on this hour at the moment. But if you've got nothing to do on Colby get Paris book, cause it will make the tinier for a few hours without a doubt. It brings the guy,
Speaker 2: (05:51)
unless you, um, you can't, you can't get it actually download it on Kindle, but you can't get new copies anymore. We've stopped the run on that Kindle things there. So hopefully people will have a love for a bit, but they shows you that behind the scenes stuff. Cause that was a brief summary that the main thing about the career is being a racing driver is organizing the funding and I'm being with the right team and trying to desperately get those opportunities that if you feel you, you're pretty good to be able to show it. You know.
Speaker 1: (06:24)
So let's just follow us for, we add it, you end up on some,
Speaker 2: (06:28)
well it was actually the book to be quite honest because it's um, the book encapsulated, you know, all the ups and downs trying to get to formula one. And we had a great book launch party in London, a lot of friends from formula one there. A lot of friends from TV including Jeremy, Jeremy Klassen and he's Andy series producer, which is Andy Wilman. And they were both there and it was actually at the booklets. The gym said, Hey listen, top gear has been unfair for quite a long time. We're bringing it back and we've got an idea for you. I said, Oh yeah. He said, yeah, instead of wanting it to be this secret racing driver back then, as you know, the original stake me, it was dressed in black, so it's all black. So he said, um, we're going to have you dressed in black boots, black overalls, black folks, black crash helmet, a black visor, and we're going to call you the gimp. And they were really serious. Now when I'm not being good again. Anyway, it went back, went forward a bit and finally we settled on the steak. So, and that's uh, and of course none of us had any idea how big top gear would become and a well known stick it become. So it was, it was a bit of foam.
Speaker 1: (07:41)
Yeah. No. Excellent. And they, you know, there's been many sticks that you've decided to fly off the end of the, um, you know,
Speaker 2: (07:48)
there's only been one more, one more color stick if you like, but a few people will have,
Speaker 1: (07:55)
has played in I guess. Yeah. Okay. So I to bring cause cause you know, a lot of the people who follow me are in the driving. And so I just want to ask you what your mind strengths. I've got a flavor of it now, but what would you consider your mind strength as a driver?
Speaker 2: (08:13)
Uh, well I was a road driver or driver. That's a bit of crossover actually. Yeah,
Speaker 2: (08:23)
I've got some attributes. Um, and one of them is the ability to concentrate. So I think that that's relevant in both motor racing and road driving. I think that that's the biggest frustration, um, that I see is that you just see people, we think they're in their lounge and that the car's going to get there automatically. You know, it's, you got to concentrate, you gotta be thinking, uh, as you very well known. Um, and that's, that's the, that's the biggest thing. You know. So with motor racing you do need some level of bravery. You do. But what you've got I have around it is judgment. Yeah. So again, I don't want to talk about bravery on track and end using that on the road. Cause those two shouldn't go hand in hand. But the judgment should, and again, judgment is a condition of concentrating. You know, it's like you'd probably say something different to this, but if I had one message to get out there to get out there, one message, I'd say drivers look that way. Not when your pals not looking down, they're not texting or even on Facebook or something like that, which is insane. I don't know. That's an expertise of mine. Yeah. Yeah. I used to be six foot two before the crashes.
Speaker 1: (09:55)
Yeah. I mean, I mean that is that the skill of what a co um, relaxed focus, it is a skill that takes time to develop. And you know, a lot of the people that I've worked with, a training, inexperienced drivers who model, they're driving on other people, their parents, they might. Um, and I suppose it's someone wanting to, and I don't know how, and I'm just asking this off the top of my head. Um, you know, because there's a lot of boys out there, always one of them. Um, so he matched test, right? Testosterone, you know, did some silly things when I was learning the driver and real silly things. I'm sure, you know, as young men, a lot of us have. Um, but if I want you to get into, um, maybe letting that go on a track, where would you advise them to govern? Start now you've got any, any thoughts? Cause there'll be some people go, I'm not my voice. I've got this young boy, I'm trying to drive his complete or I don't want him doing it on the road, but I don't know where to go to go and develop that skill. Should we say?
Speaker 2: (11:06)
Well I God, I don't really know what to say on that one. Because you know, the, the easiest entry cost racing read is carting and there's a lot of circuits where you can arrive and drive. So you spend either 20, 25 foot whatever for an hour, you can go out and cut. But, but there's not an awful lot of similarity between a car and a road car. Yeah. So it may be instituting a bit of false confidence there because you know you're in a car and you want to just go faster and faster and being harsh with a car is okay. You won't get that lap time but, but you don't, it's not as translatable being harsh to have a road car. You know, you could say for the value of what your, uh, your questions about this, that you'd want them in a road car to go on the track. But that all starts getting blooming expensive.
Speaker 1: (12:08)
I think the other thing is, you know, and I'm not, we breed over confidence as well. Yeah. And they need, like if the gal in the round car on a track by then go, I can do it ran at roundabout.
Speaker 2: (12:20)
Well I do you know something though that you've hit on a point there because again, it would only be valuable on the track if you or somebody else was sitting next to them. Yes. Because they might then just go, well now I'm on a track and now I can completely flip it around and do it. I mean, honest to God, I'm not being judgmental here because that's exactly where I kicked off. But you know, I was quick but I didn't have a clue, you know, so it was only because I had somebody who was an instructor with me just saying, Hey, listen, you've got all the qualities. Now take out some of the bad bits. And I think really even in motor racing, that's what I try a dirty. Um, clearly things are happening immensely high speed, but I know most of the time I've done something wrong.
Speaker 2: (13:09)
Yeah. And so what I'm trying to do every lab is to refine my approach and as a career I'd rock was to refine my approach and just go, okay, look, I'm not trying to be the next big thing with this, with this step change, you know, but what am I doing wrong? And if you can cover that, you get better anyway. Yeah. We have a road car. I can't have, I thought you always kind of, I had a bit of a smile on my face. If somebody is, you said, not necessarily, Oh, Perry company that fast. You took that, whatever. But what I kind of like is to say, crikey, you, you,
Speaker 1: (13:51)
Speaker 2: (13:53)
change down, turned in and went through it and it seems seamless. You know,
Speaker 1: (14:00)
I can just say I remember sitting next to you and your poach and um, you know, we had a little drive to the shops and back should we say?
Speaker 2: (14:07)
Yeah. Yeah. So it's, um, I think that's, so it's concentrating on all the little bits on how to put them together and that's only on how you drive. Then of course there's the, there's the entire game on the road about predictability. You know, you're trying to work out who's going to do what and it's like a chess game and it kind of actually interests me and it, believe it or not, it's actually our aerodynamics because it is fluid dynamics. So who's gonna be stomach? If somebody stops there, it's going to compress the traffic there. Somebody is going to make a decision to do this or that. Excuse me. Second. Um, can I just take this a second?
Speaker 2: (14:50)
How? Yeah, I'll just go. That was good. Uh, how does it match out? Good head checks and um, I mean in interview at the moment, I'll call you back in 20 minutes. That's great. Okay. Like about the job, sorry, we've just discovered is a Dutch commentator, former one commentator. Yeah. So, uh, so what was you saying? He's also crazy as, okay. A bunch of lies. That guy he used to drive as well and he was nuts, you know, so it's at the timing, it's, it's about trying to put that together, but it's about seeing what's going on and that fluid dynamics thing that I was just touching on. It's just when you concentrate, you can predict something. So you're limiting risks. If you're not concentrating then it's all happening to you. Are you playing catch up and you go, well how did that happen now? Clearly of course there are some just surprises on the road that you can't, you know, predict. That's, that's it. And that's when concentration and hopefully reactions, even though I would normally say people need to drive on reactions because that's wrong. Yeah.
Speaker 2: (16:18)
Yeah. When something really bad happens though, it's as well to have those reactions and your reactions will be better if you've already concentrating on ready for stuff, you know? Okay. We used to have this expression on the old rigs. It was like living in a state of constant unease and that's how you should live. You know, you don't want to give yourself a heart attack, but you should be aware if anything's wrong, look at it, take notes a bit because you know, you are working on a grenade out there. So, and it's exactly how it should be with driving. You should, you shouldn't be completely relaxed. There should be a little bit of unease. I'm just going, what's happening over there? What's happening over there? Yeah. Everyone's trying to kill me.
Speaker 2: (17:09)
Just going to do my best to stop exactly what I tried, but I just want to change the subject and I don't care. Um, well, I mean, crikey, as difficult one heroes, you know, you come into people like center, um, people who's driving you really, really a mile. Uh, Hamilton. I mean, he's, the guy's a genius. He is absolutely brilliant. He really is. But it's been a, it's been a whole host of characters I've really adored over the years. I mean, when I, when I first kicked off, it was people like Alan Jones, the Australian F1 champion and khaki Rosberg, you know, they were the people that I thought, wow, they're real Jack the lad. They think I'm really feeling the car around and they're so cool and you're veteran enough of course. Mmm. And I never met jails, but I went on to no, but of Alan and khaki. And that's a real thrill for me. James James Hunt as well. Of course. Yeah. But you see personality shine through sometimes in the cars, their approach, um, levels of aggression or levels of thoughtfulness. You know, you had somebody like Nikki, Nikki Lauder or Alan bras and they are very, very bright people, you know, almost the engineers at the same time. And in fact they were engineers, you know, they could really work out what's going on. But then you had maybe the more cavalier spirit of somebody like James or khaki Rosberg or, yeah, Nelson Piquet was brilliant driver, three-time Roach. I mean there's a whole host of people.
Speaker 1: (19:10)
Okay. I'm going to get near the end of this interview, so I've got a couple more questions. Um, because I know your time short, you got to get back to this guy, but you got back on the track last year in some way. I remember seeing some pictures in there that you just tell us a little bit about about that. Is that going to happen again in the future or is that a bit of a one off?
Speaker 2: (19:32)
Yeah, it's really interesting you should mention that because you're somebody who believes we never stopped learning and so am I. And I was invited to come back after crikey, a 17 year layoff, I think it was. So, um, okay, let's do it. But it was so completely different. It was the European Rallycross championship, the Titans. Now of course these things are running turbos and their four wheel drive. And of course radicals means that you're half on tarmac, but then you go on to gravel.
Speaker 1: (20:06)
Well, I know you wrote model and cool track when you lead in Hill.
Speaker 2: (20:09)
Yeah, that's right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was my first race. Yeah. So I'm against the guy who won the world championship in Ronnie cross, the guy who came second in the world [inaudible] so it was an all star cast. Um, the funny thing is I actually led both my first two races. Nah, there was no talent. It was an absolute fluke that I absolutely got a brilliant star. And then of course over the next five laps they at me. But the, but the, there was a real difference in driving the four wheel drive and how you turn in and you slide it because sure. Driving in the rain in motor racing, et cetera, I'm kind of, I was very, very good in for some reason I have no idea why, but you know, you drift the car a bit of opposite load, balancing the throttle, all these sorts of things.
Speaker 2: (21:01)
Your feet are going like this and everything else with the four wheel drive, totally different thing. You know, you have to die Tony and even more and flora to Trump. Pull yourself out of it and getting that through my head sometimes. I mean the other guys, the real good guys. Well actually coming in teaching me to just like, yeah cause many, they were from Scandinavia and so they speak like this so they're coming stay flat flat on that plateau. Stay flat. I can do the accent more than the driving I did. I did actually start getting the hang of it and I really had a great time. Would I be coming back this year? Obviously the device and everything doubt it next year. Um, I don't know to be gone. His grandma go to a fairly serious business somewhere big time next year. I don't think I'm going to have any time. Yeah.
Speaker 1: (22:00)
Cause obviously, you know it obviously is figured. I'd love to come and watch you again. You know, so obviously it's on itself. Each one look very, if you're going to get back in a car, I want to come and watch it. Yeah.
Speaker 2: (22:11)
Thanks mate. But again, certainly that the, when I'm trying to describe driving, um, in a race car or on the road, again for me, there's something that I kind of love to take this opportunity to point out from my opinion. And again, I know we share the same opinion, but in a race car, you're going very, very, very, very quickly. Yeah. Buy, buy, buy now, whatever the conditions are, the moment that you're behind the race car, you're reacting to it. Yeah. Okay. So that's when you've got a problem. I know I have been in those conditions before because I've had such little testing. So then you've just been driving on a lot of bravery, which isn't, but I'd be forced to do that, you know, because there's no time. So you just got, I'm not completely sure what I'm doing, but I'm staying flat through to school and I'm praying, you know, that's it.
Speaker 2: (23:03)
Um, but the genuinely what you want to be doing, and especially in road car, is that anybody who's going very quickly and isn't ahead of the car, they're the people who are rough with the car. And I think that's quick. Yeah, they're rough with the car because they're playing catch up. The car is quicker than them mentally if you're ahead of the car of whatever speed it is. And hopefully it's not too high speed. But whatever speed is, if you're ahead of it, you're the one breaking, changing down and that's keeping it smooth and the cars coming with you. There's a very different side of it. [inaudible]
Speaker 1: (23:43)
that word Perry.
Speaker 2: (23:45)
Speaker 2: (23:46)
because whenever I'm thinking skill by striving and not mind by or emotional skill, by striving, I want you to judge yourself on smoothness. Yeah. And you know, it doesn't take one can actually practice that on the road. And I would advocate just practicing it. Just say to yourself, okay, I'm at fairly low speed. I'm going to play a game. How much can I feel of my breaking my change down and turn in? And once you've started mastering the technique at a fairly low speed, then you can maybe just upped the ante a little bit to just go, okay, now, um, as the police might say, making progress. Yeah. So just really nice, smooth, good pace to drive. Nothing nutcase. But now you're super smooth and the people in the passenger seat, so you really notice that. Okay, Perry, I've got two questions. One is my question I ask everybody. So this is actually the big question that everyone has to answer is such a tough question. And the question is, as you think on right as an interviewer, absolutely. You know, I don't think anybody to match you. That's another point. And the final closing question. If you could choose one super hero power, what would it be?
Speaker 2: (25:27)
Hmm. Immortality. Immortality is great, but if I'm just going to carry on getting older, I'm falling apart. I may have chosen not aging about 20 years ago, but now it's got to a point where do I want to stay like this for the rest of my life? It's just, I've just accepted it. It's downhill. Okay. Thank you for being a great interviewee. Maybe I can do this again. Some stage you get in the future, it would be brilliant, but thank you for your time. So I'm going to say goodbye now. If you want to say goodbye to my audience and then I'll stop the recording. Yeah, I'll tell you about [inaudible] as well. We'll speak again. Um, but it's always good fun chatting with you, and I've got a lot of respect for how you approach driving your thoughts and especially your skill and ability to actually communicate with people and, and, and teach them. Whereas I, um, maybe not as calm, not as good as you at that. So it's, um, it's like you save lives doing what you do, so that's great. Thank you Perry.