Reigning Intersteps Series champion Matt Parry is gearing up for another successful year with his Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) campaign beginning this weekend.
The 19-year-old from Bury St Edmunds was regularly at the top of the time sheets during testing in Assen, Netherlands, and Hockenheim, Germany.
As part of the Caterham Racing Academy, Parry is being readied for a life in Formula One should he continue to show the form that took him to a record points haul in the Intersteps Series courtesy of 13 victories.
“I am really looking forward to the first round,” said the former County Upper School pupil, who will be part of the Fortec team again when the NEC begins in Hockenheim on Sunday. “Hopefully we should get on the podium in all three races.”
Should Parry — who also studied engineering at West Suffolk College for two years — earn success in the NEC, he would look to move into the European Cup for 2014 and then on to the World Series by Renault, which is at the same level as GP2 and considered just one step from Formula One.
The likes of Toro Rosso pair Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne — both part of the Red Bull Driver Development Programme — have taken this route into Formula One.
With Formula One outfit Caterham backing him, Parry hopes one day to follow them into the promised land to join the likes of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton on the same grid.
“This year is a massive jump in budget,” said Parry, who was born in Wales. “It’s twice what it was last year, so we’ve had a bit of help financially from Caterham, but the main thing they are doing is preparing me for the long-term goal of Formula One.”
Parry gets an insight into Caterham’s mission control on a Formula One race weekend, talking to engineers to review the data that comes back from the cars of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde.