Book: Flat out Flat Broke - Perry McCarthy


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For those of you who don't remember the early 90's there was once a formula one team that became one, if not the, biggest laughing stock in the history of Motorsport. That team was Andrea Moda and one of the poor, unfortunate drivers who had the task of driving a car that was so bad that it almost killed him at Spa (I kid you not) was Britains very own Perry McCarthy.

For those of you who are Top Gear fans, Perry McCarthy was the first Stig (the one in the black overalls that ended up being fired of the front of an aircraft carrier). Rumour has it that he was promised an on screen job if he did the Stig thing for a few seasons. When this job didn't turn up he revealed his secret identity by publishing this book with the tag line "Top Gear's the Stig". You can tell the difference between an original copy and the re-prints because the re-issue has the Top Gear line removed and the number of copies sold on the cover.

So is the book any good? Yes and then again no. Given that the book is titled Formula one the hard way it dosn't really talk about Formula one that much. Surely a whole book could have been written just on those turbulant 6 months with Andrea Moda but it's actually only covered in just 2 chapters of a 16 chapter book. But what a two chapters. Sometimes when you lament for the little guy at the back of the grid just pick up this book and read how un-proffesional some of those little guys could be !!

The writing is witty throughout and if you are interested in the mid to late 80s British motorsport scene there is plenty here to keep you ammused. McCarthey competed on the track in F3 and F3000 with the likes of Johny Herbert, Mark Blundell, Damon Hill, Bertrand Gachot and numerous guys who would make it into Formula one before him and in most cases he beat them all. You get the clear impression from the book that he was always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In conlcusion is it worth a read? Without a doubt. There are some touching moments, some funny moments and some moments that make you realise just how driven you have to be to make it to the top of Motorsport even if your debut appearance in your very first Formula one session lasted all of about 5 seconds.

I give this book a :thumbsup:
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