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Perry McCarthy

3rd March 1961 (Age 59)
Stepney, London
Most recent race (in database):

Can the extroverted Perry McCarthy claim to be a Grand Prix driver? True, he entered 10 races during 1992 but he never qualified the hopeless Andrea Moda S192-Judd. So unreliable was his car that he rarely even made it out of the pitlane during pre-qualifying. It was an embarrassment but McCarthy accepted his fortunes with customary good humour – happy to be a fringe attraction of Formula 1.

Early racing career

This cocky Londoner worked on oil rigs in the North Sea to fund the early years of his career. Although never the quickest in the field, his ability to do a deal ensured progress through the junior ranks. He graduated to British Formula 3 in 1986 and his Madgwick Reynard 873-Volkswagen finished second at Silverstone in May 1987.

McCarthy tinkered with Formula 3000 for the next couple of years when he was able to raise the necessary sponsorship. Seventh with Roger Cowman’s Lola T89/50-Cosworth at Spa-Francorchamps in 1989 was his best result from five starts.

Unhappy Formula 1 experience with Andrea Moda

He tested a Footwork Arrows F1 car during 1991 but it was still a surprise when he was announced as Andrea Moda’s driver for the 1992 Brazilian GP. Forced to miss that event as he waited for his super licence, it was a sad waste of time thereafter as McCarthy struggled to coax the ill-prepared machine into life. The team finally folded after the Belgian GP and McCarthy later raced in sports cars.

Whether McCarthy was a GP driver or not depends on your definition but he is definitely a character. He later worked on the BBC Television’s Top Gear programme as its secret test driver "The Stig" and his autobiography Flat Out, Flat Broke: F1 the Hard Way was published in 2002.