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Perry McCarthy

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Perry McCarthy is quite simply unique. The Original Stig, ex Formula 1 and Sports Car driver and all round entertainer. Perry's got a lot to talk about.

He combines his experience as a Formula One driver with becoming the original 'Stig' to delight audiences with entertaining speeches.

Perry's bubbly personality and absolute refusal to concede defeat have made him popular with the press; The Telegraph headlined him as "a new cult hero" The Times called him "the world's unluckiest racing driver" and America’s Sunday Express described him as a "comedian locked inside a racing driver's body".

Perry literally clawed his way to the top with very little backing but, with talent, dedication, determination and that famous sense of humour he always gets everyone’s attention. The fact that he was the original 'Stig' has a crowd cheering before he’s even started talking!

Perry's Career

Born in London, Perry did not have the typical beginnings of a Formula One driver. With no karting background and being forced to work for his father's company servicing North Sea oil rigs in order to survive, his early career was a constant struggle against wealthy opponents who were able to dedicate themselves entirely to motor sport.

Working his way through the junior categories of motor sport in Europe, such as Formula Ford, Formula 3, eventually F3000 and various touring and sports car races in America, including drives for Spice Engineering, McCarthy gained a reputation for being both talented and unpredictable.

In 1991, Perry was chosen to test for the Footwork Formula One team. Although he impressed the team, his break did not come until the eve of the 1992 Formula One season, when he was signed by the independent Andrea Moda team run by Italian playboy Andrea Sassetti who thought that entering Formula 1 would be a good way to advertise his shoe business. Sadly the team was uncompetitive, disorganized and poorly managed, and after a lengthy battle to gain an FIA Super Licence the season soon descended into farce. Perry, frequently denied more than a handful of laps in which to prepare, failed to qualify for any Grand Prix. The team folded before the end of the season in controversial circumstances and he was left without a drive.

McCarthy never raced in Formula One after 1992, but tested for both Williams and Benetton teams during the 1990s but was denied a permanent role as test driver, in Benetton because he was covering for their normal test driver being off sick and Williams because he did not see eye to eye with the engineers and the position was then given to a young David Coulthard.

The Original 'Stig'

After a brief retirement, Perry returned to sports car racing, appearing at Le Mans in 2002 and numerous other events. In 2002, he released his autobiography entitled Flat Out, Flat Broke, in which he spoke candidly about his time in Formula One and his work for the BBC's Top Gear motoring show as The Stig, a masked, anonymous, racing driver who evaluated the latest high performance cars. Perry McCarthy was the original, black-suited Stig, who left after the first two series.
"We don't know its name, we really don't know its name, nobody knows its name, and we don't wanna know, 'cause it's a racing driver". 
- Jeremy Clarkson