2014 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Matt Parry got his first taste of Formula One machinery yesterday (27th October) with his prize McLaren test at Silverstone.
Parry won the prestigious young driver award in December last year at the end of a campaign in which he won the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup.
The 20 year old, who competed in the Formula Renault Eurocup this year, got three five-lap runs in the McLaren MP4-26 that took Jenson Button to victory in the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix.
Parry described the test, which took place around the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit on the assessment day for this year’s six MABA award finalists, as “extraordinary” and “phenomenal”.
“The nerves kicked in a little bit while I was waiting for the signal to go, as I was a little concerned about getting out of the garage without stalling – especially with everyone watching!” said Parry.
“But, once that was out of the way, the racing driver instinct kicked in and I just tried to utilise the experience as much as possible and have fun out there.”
The Welshman, who’s previously tested Formula Three and Formula Renault 3.5 machinery, admits it was unlike anything he had ever driven before.
“The speed is the biggest thing – it’s hard to describe the power, but it pulls in every gear and, even in seventh, it feels like you are in first!” he explained.
“It’s just continuous power everywhere. Of course, the brakes are good being full carbon, and they were incredible to experience as well, especially with the downforce.”
The Sports Wales ambassador admits the experience was greater than he had expected and has fuelled his desire to reach the pinnacle of the sport one day.
“I’d like to thank the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award for this fantastic opportunity – and especially Team McLaren, who made me feel welcome even in the short space of time that I was with them,” he concluded.
“I really, really enjoyed this test and hope that I can be in one of these cars again in the future.”