Unless you’re a karting aficionado of the very highest calibre, then the chances are that you won’t have heard the name Matt George until quite recently. The 20-year-old British GT rookie has no experience of car racing prior to this year – not least in an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 – and had to sit out last year while he explored his options. However, he does have an ace up his sleeve.
George works as a technician and driver coach at Base Performance Simulators – founded by Aston Martin Racing’s Darren Turner – and it was there he met Superdry entrepreneur James Holder. The pair quickly hit it off and it wasn’t long before they decided to team up and go racing together. As might be expected from a young man with extensive knowledge of how to apply the lessons learned from virtual reality to the track, George set about learning the ropes with a minimum of fuss.
Despite very little by way of expectation, he flourished in the opening two rounds while partnering reigning GT4 champion Jamie Chadwick, coming from the back of the field to fourth at Brands Hatch before qualifying strongly at Rockingham and only losing out on a podium to braking problems.
When Holder came on board for Round 3 at Oulton Park, the Generation AMR Aston moved from Silver Cup to Pro-Am and was given a more favourable Balance of Performance, helping George to set the second fastest lap in both races.
“I was massively surprised, I came into the championship expecting nothing. We knew we were fairly decent in testing, but that means nothing to anyone really and a race weekend is a completely different environment,” he said.
“It’s my first ever season racing, I’ve come from karting and that’s it. Oulton Park was my third and fourth race and this will be my fifth, so it’s taken some time to get to grips with everything, but since the first round it’s just been getting better all the time. To be honest I’m finding it quite hard to believe that we’re on the level that we are at the moment.”
Having to manage his own development while coaching Holder is by no means an easy task, but George is relishing the step-up and knows has an excellent mentor to glean advice from.
“I’m not scared of work, I’m not scared of helping people and anything I learn, James finds out straight away directly because my number one priority is making sure James is getting the most out of his British GT experience,” said George. “I’ve learned quite a lot about how people work, different techniques and how to apply them in different ways through my work at Base Performance Simulators, so I’m sure that I can extract the best out of him. What I lack in experience I will try to make up for by putting a lot of hard work in before every weekend to make sure that I arrive the best I can be.
“Darren is a massive help, we have a really god relationship and he’s pushing me quite hard to do what I can with the racing,” he adds. “Obviously I’m racing an Aston Martin and he’s Mr. Aston Martin, so there’s really no better person you can have to be able to call up and ask a few questions to. I’m amazingly grateful to him, he’s definitely a big part of getting me to where I am now.”