The identity of my next guest was guarded for so long, his reputation became notorious. It hit headlines the world over when he was exposed as the mystery driver featured in the first two series of the global TV sensation Top Gear…
First guess only will count here as he was the first and the original…
That’s correct ladies and gentlemen, my next guest on Simon’s 10 Q Interviews is the one and only motoring sensation, The author of the International Bestseller Flat Out Flat Broke: The Original Stig…
The Original Stig, Perry McCarthy
Rumoured to have driven off an aircraft carrier Perry McCarthy (AKA The Original STIG) started his motor racing career by actually working on oil rigs to fund his progression into Formula Ford 1600 before fighting his way up the motor racing ladder to Formula 3, international Formula 3000, finally realising his dream of becoming a F1 driver in 1992. He subsequently drove as a Formula 1 test driver for both Benetton and the Williams F1 teams. Perry competed at Le Mans five times for major works teams and has been a motor racing commentator, TV presenter and has recently agreed to start writing for a major motoring magazine…
Perry used these many, varied and hilarious experiences to write his internationally bestselling autobiography Flat Out Flat Broke…and it was in fact at that book launch where Jeremy Clarkson offered Perry the opportunity to become the first and original Stig on the newly revamped BBC Top Gear. The book
The rest is history, the show went on to be globally popular and ‘The Stig’ went on to become iconic. Now able to talk about his secret identity Perry gives a behind the scenes look in the Third edition of Flat Out Flat Broke, one of the Top 20 bestselling motor racing books of all time.
Best man to F1 driver Mark Blundell, the foreword to his autobiography written by his close friend and former F1 World Motor Racing Champion Damon Hill, I am delighted to say that the driver, motivational and after dinner speaker, road safety consultant and Internationally Bestselling author Perry McCarthy will be running the gauntlet of Simon’s 10 Q Interviews… Don’t blink as you might miss him aaaaaaaaand there he goes! For those who blinked, here’s another opportunity to read how Perry ‘THE STIG’ McCarthy got on with his interview…
First off Welcome Perry… Here we go…
SD Q1: Perry, we first met at the finals of the UK Blog Awards in March 2014 where you were both a judge for the automotive blogs and speaker at the event. Whilst I was embarrassed to say I was not aware of your identity at the time, I had aptly, some six months prior nick-named one of my previous interviewees, Jack Hayes, The Stig of authors, as his identity is a fairly well guarded secret in the literary world. How does it feel to know that you not only set the stage and created the limelight for The Stig in the motoring world, but that the name is so well known that it continues to be used to this day in Top Gear and is felt to be a worthy tag for those from other walks of life who keep their identities secret?
PM A1: Yeah, it’s bizarre isn’t it! The whole thing really appeals to my sense of humour! It made me laugh a few times when I’ve been standing in a pub, listening to people saying ‘Who do you think the Stig is’? And I’ve been thinking. well, you’re standing next to him Mate! But I never said that, not even for free lager! I am proud to have been at the very centre that has given me a lot of fun but also entertained millions of people around the world.
SD Q2: Your entire career is extraordinary and you have managed to keep wearing a smile over and over, very often in the face of adversity and personal/financial challenges. It’s a real credit to you that you kept coming out more determined than ever to follow your dreams. If there were any personal actions you could go back and tweak (other than going faster or assassinating other drivers to get bigger sponsorship deals!) what would they be and how might they have forced a different outcome in your career?
PM A2: I wouldn’t go back and tweak anything. Honestly. I don’t look back in despair, I sure look back and laugh at my many mistakes, but that’s who I was then. I always look forward but sure, I’ll use what I’ve learned in trying to do the right thing in the right way.
SD Q3: Anybody who has followed your career will know that nobody is safe from your wit and one-liners, whether they be aimed at an interviewer or co-interviewee. With that in mind we decide to send you to the island of Coventry, a little known deserted island where you can spend time repenting for the use of your wicked sense of humour, or on the other hand probably plotting a savagely witty plan of revenge… You may take three items with you to remind you of home, what would you take and why?
Item 1: A picture of you.
Why? So I can throw Coventry coconuts at it for fun.
Item 2: A picture of The White Stig.
Why? So I can throw coconuts at it when I get bored throwing them at your picture.
Item 3: A really big stack of coconuts
Why? Wouldn’t want to run of them would I?
SD Q4: Your autobiography Flat Out Flat Broke: The Original Stig, which has just been released for the first time in Kindle format on Amazon, is well written, engaging, hysterical in many places and is extremely difficult to put down once you start reading. Where, or from who, did you get the inspiration to write your life story within racing and are you currently doing any further writing for magazines or perhaps even another book? If so, where or when can readers find more of your witty puns and vast knowledge of the world of motor racing?
PM A4: It seems people in motor racing always had a lot of fun hearing about my various adventures and then repeating them to others. I would often arrive at a track and tales of my escapades would have got there before me. By the time I reached Formula One my journey coupled with my shy retiring personality had accumulated enough disasters to have people howling with laughter. ‘You have GOT to write a book’ became something I was hearing from teams, other drivers, journalists and motor racing enthusiasts. So, one day, I was thinking over a bunch of experiences and really started laughing. I started writing there and then. I love writing and I get a real kick out of producing something that engages the reader. Before the book I had written a bunch of articles and I enjoy it. The book now has a place in the hearts and minds of so many … and honestly, I find that touching. I now write regularly for the online edition of Motor Sport Magazine where as usual, I’ll have something to say but make sure I can wrap it all around a very big grin.
SD Q5: There are two others who have followed in your footsteps in the position of The Stig in BBC’s Top Gear, but you are The Original Stig, The Black Stig, and there can always only be one ‘original’. If we were to put you against the other two ‘copies’ in a race, on a race track of your choice, in cars of your choice; what would be your choices and why, and also how much of a head start would they need to keep things on an even keel at the finish?
PM A5: Well, I wouldn’t want it easy! So … let’s go for the Spa circuit in Belgium, make sure it’s pouring with rain and strap us each in to a Formula One car. How much of a head start would they need? Well, it depends on how drunk I managed to get them the night before!
SD Q6: During your racing career you have suffered a number of accidents at high speed. I am aware that many people struggle to get back into regular cars having suffered Road Traffic Accidents etc. What is the closest you have been to not returning to the track following an accident and what words of wisdom can you offer to those who may be reading this interview and be experiencing such problems to help them in the journey back into the driving seat?
PM A6: Hmmm. Very good question Simon. It bores in to my deeply serious side, so well done because I do keep that pretty much hidden, so hidden in fact that it was only yesterday I knew I had a serious side. But there ya go … I tend to shy away from answering this kind of thing because if I go deep and how I feel about accidents I think it puts people on edge. Basically, I shut it out of my mind. It didn’t happen. It doesn’t exist. Look forward. However, there was one time where, in the space of one week I had two very big accidents due to suspension failure at over 140mph. Three days later I was in a new car and I was concussed. It was very difficult to make sense of everything (it’s all documented in Flat Out Flat Broke). I spent nearly the entire qualifying session in the pits just sitting in the car trying to piece my mind back together. With five minutes to go I went out on to the track, held it together and went fastest overall to claim pole position. I then got out the car and fell to pieces. I couldn’t stop crying. I actually didn’t know what I was doing. However, that was it. No problems returning and no repeat incidents. Luckily no one saw me sobbing like a little puppy! So, I was forced to go against the advice I’d offer to those trying to return to the driving seat – but, if you can, take it easy. No rush. One step at a time and just gradually get your confidence back if you can. I do feel for people in this predicament but as I’ve said, my own way of dealing with it was to totally shut it out.
SD Q7: You may have all the cars Perry, but I have the Simon’s 10QI Time Machine which I would like to offer you the use of for three trips; past, present and/or future or a mix of your choice. To what three years would you go, which places and why and what would you bring back from each as a souvenir?
Year 1: 1963.
Purpose: So I could, at just the right time shout ‘Duck Mr. President’.
Souvenir: The Purple Heart for services rendered.
Year 2: 1976.
Place: Wimbledon England.
Purpose: To help James Hunt celebrate his Formula 1 world championship.
Souvenir: A severe hangover.
Year 3: Whenever you was at school.
Place: A field near your school.
Purpose: To throw coconuts at you for the future pain you’s cause me with this interview.
SD Q8: With humans relying greatly on all of their senses to experience the full thrill of dramatic situations, and the world working ever closer to new carbon friendly or in the case of F1 electric silent technologies, what do you think Formula 1 bosses will do to ensure the experience and thrill of F1 remains unchanged for spectators e.g. What would be more palatable; silent running around the tracks at high speed or F1 cars with speakers and simulated ‘engine noise’?
PM A8: I can’t answer that because I don’t think and I rather hope that F1 will not go full electric! If it does I’ll start watching women’s tennis because they’ll make more noise on their serve then the cars will.
SD Q9: What do you think the future holds for The Original Stig, what part do you see yourself playing within the racing world in 5, 10 or 15 years from today and how differently will the racing world look. Could we be looking at multi dimensional high speed racing with flying cars appearing to be one option for the future or does that only work in the heads of over imaginative minds of people like me?
PM A9: I am heavily involved in a technology project in formula one which is my idea and I’m currently financing it. So… if that works, it’ll be fun and it will certainly be rewarding. In the meantime I’ll keep travelling the world giving after dinner and also business/motivational speeches to any corporation that wants me. I hope for the future that F1 remains the pinnacle of world motor sport and if I have something to offer, then sure, I’ll stay around in one guise or another but only if I’m not in the way. I couldn’t stand to be thought of as a hanger-on! Re: multi dimensional flying cars… Simon …where did I put those coconuts?
SD Q10: Perry, before my last question I would just like to thank you for your time and wish you the very best with your Kindle Autobiography Flat Out Flat Broke: The Original Stig, currently Number 1 in the motorsports genre in the United Kingdom, The United States and Australia just 48 hours after its launch. May it continue to race off the shelves as you have done around so many tracks! You have in your own right been an interviewer and interviewee on so many occasions, my final question is that if you were the interviewer at Simon’s 10 Q Interviews and had the choice of any interviewee from across the globe, who would you choose as your first interviewee, why and what would your opening question to them be?
First Interviewee: President Kennedy.
Why? I have such huge admiration for the man. His deeds. His attitude and his memory.
Opening question: Why didn’t you duck when I told you to?
SD Comments: Well… Great answers there from Perry McCarthy, author of the top 20 bestselling motorsports book of all time; Flat Out Flat Broke: The Original Stig. They say everybody knows where they were the day President Kennedy was assassinated, possibly few more so than my own mother who was celebrating her 21st birthday on that very day. As one can imagine, it turned the celebrations rather sour! But anyway, many thanks to Perry for some fantastically entertaining answers. Readers, if you enjoyed said answers I truly and sincerely recommend purchasing a copy. It is packed to the rafters with such humour, but also visits the sincere side of Perry’s path through to formula one and beyond and whether he admits to it or not, it is written in a way that enables us all to relate to some of the challenges he faced, to our own lives, and empathise with and learn from how he faced up to, and overcame, those challenges. A truly amazing read.
Before you leave why not watch a brief video about the legend and additionally about his views on Road Safety, or visit the Amazon Kindle page now to own your own copy of his autobiography using the following links;
UK Links: Flat Out Flat Broke: The Original Stig
US Links: Flat Out Flat Broke: The Original Stig
CA Long Link: http://www.amazon.ca/Flat-Out-Broke-Original-Stig-ebook/dp/B00U8W05TG
AU Long Link: http://www.amazon.com.au/Flat-Out-Broke-Original-Stig-ebook/dp/B00U8W05TG
The Perry McCarthy interview took place on 17 March 2015. I have also interviewed Perry for a live broadcast on Chorley FM 102.8 Radio. This was aired on Saturday 14th March between 0800 and 0900 hrs and again on Sunday 15th March 2015 at 1400hrs. To listen live to Chorley FM 102.8 follow this link:
Simon Duringer © 2014.
Simon Duringer is both a Goodreads author and Independent Interviewer. If you have enjoyed reading this interview, why not download a copy of The Word: The Best of Simon’s 10Q Interviews, featuring 28 equally interesting and exciting interviews, available on Kindle, Prime (#Free) and Paperback. Links to Simon’s Amazon Author Page are as follows;
UK Link – Simon Duringer Author Page
US Link – Simon Duringer Author Page
….and whilst it may not be about the autobiography Flat Out Flat Broke take a quick look at this video for some excellent driving advice from the man himself… Perry McCarthy, The Stig.