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Interview with Perry McCarthy

Perry McCarthy is the Original Stig, the masked racing driver from the world famous BBC Motoring Show Top Gear. His skill behind the wheel is unquestionable, and his wit is just as quick as his driving. In this interview he explains some of the issues with Road Safety in the UK and his own inspirations.

What is a common misconception that needs dispelling about racing drivers?

Well, I’m not sure about ‘misconceptions’ but most people have little idea how physically and mentally fit we have to be to compete at the highest levels. So, there is a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure we are the component that doesn’t break! Great fitness also helps to give you great confidence and that’s so important in delivering peak performance.


Who or what inspires you most?

People from all walks of life with passion, dedication, determination and talent inspire me. Those who win, inspire me. Those who lose, inspire me. The people who don’t inspire me are those who’s attitude is one of mediocrity!


Do you have a favorite experience from speaking career?

Not one especially but, I really do enjoy making people laugh – I’ve always liked doing that, even as a child. So, giving my audiences a good time is very important to me. I am also very proud and, to be honest, humbled (which is unlike me!) when delegates and guests have found my story and attitude, motivational and inspiring.


What do you think is lacking in the public awareness for road safety in the UK?

Basic imagination!! That’s what’s lacking! Most people just don’t think! Some drive at 150 km/h, just 5 mm away from the car in front and on the phone to a friend while drinking a cup of coffee at the same time. The imagination that’s needed is to consider: what happens if the guy in front has brake hard? What happens if there is parked car the other side of the blind country lane you’ve just taken flat out? What happens if there is an incident ahead whilst you are turned around talking to your passengers?
Drivers need to concentrate and leave phones, texts and even Facebook until they arrive at their destination safely!


What do you gain personally from being a public speaker

Personally I always feel it’s about what I can give rather than what I receive, but it’s almost as if my past career, my stories and experiences have been a blueprint for the second part of my life and I approach it with the same enthusiasm and excitement. I guess it’s always nice for me to be appreciated; I certainly put the work in but entertaining people is a great reward and I never take it for granted.


What advice would you have given yourself at the start of your racing career?

Hmmmmm … that’s a tough one! I can probably think of quite a few things but I doubt if I would have listened! I guess the number one thing I would have attempted to say would have been ‘Perry, try keeping your mouth shut just a little bit sometimes’. However, I can imagine the response I would have got from young Perry!


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