However, despite a £50,000 sponsorship deal for this year, a shortage of funds has him extremely worried for his future in the sport.Quite apart from the championship and the big silver trophy, Parouty had won himself a season of racing for 2004, in the Scholarship Class of the UK National Formula Ford Championship – won last year by another Jersey driver, James Walker.That 23-year-old Parouty is very serious indeed about his sport is underlined by the fact that, last season, he was able to race only because he left Jersey and moved to the UK, so he could take to the track under the auspices of the Silverstone Racing School – and because he took out a loan of around £30,000 to fund his drive.Motor racing is a rich man’s sport, and he will be working to pay off those debts for the forseeable future.
In the meantime he is due to start testing in his new car – a Van Diemen RF 03 – in mid- to late February.Ken Bowes, the manager of the Silverstone Racing School, explained that Parouty’s win in the BRDC championship last year effectively brought him around £50,000-worth of support to further his racing career.’That degree of driver support is unique in motor racing.
With it he gets his car and tyres and his car set up for the races, and support from us at Silverstone – but we can’t write a blank cheque for him, so he has between now and when the money runs out to bridge that gap and find a sponsor,’ was Bowes’ blunt message.With Parouty working full-time to earn a living, he is still looking for sponsorship to get him through the championship, and while his driving ability is undeniable and his determination and self-belief unshakeable, he has had to face reality.’The cold, hard fact is that if I don’t raise at least £30,000 through sponsors, I probably won’t be able to race more than half the season,’ Parouty said.He has applied to the BRDC for financial help but, as yet, has heard nothing.’The main expense is tyres,’ Bowes said.
‘In this championship a driver needs between £80,000 to £100,000 for the season, of which at least £20,000 will be spent on tyres.’The BRDC series is raced in identical cars which are all set up in the same way and run on all-weather treaded tyres.
The big difference for Parouty this season will be that he will be driving on slick tyres and the fine-tuning and adjustments on the vehicle itself will vary from race to race and course to course.’Assuming he gets a full season of racing I would anticipate a similar season to last for Ryan,’ Bowes said.
‘I’d expect him to be struggling in the early part as he has a lot to learn in the new car.
The way the points are won means that if he drives consistently and finishes the races, he could well win.’A previous BRDC champion, Daniel Clarke, crashed three or four times in the early races last season – if he had concentrated more on finishing and less on trying to win from the start, he probably would have won by the end of the season- and that’s what I have to drum in to Ryan.
By half way through I’d expect him to be fighting for pole position and aiming for nothing less than race wins.”I am absolutely desperate to race,’ Parouty said.
‘I know I can win but I’m still desperately trying to get sponsorship.
Then when I get out on the track.
I can concentrate on what I’m good at – winning races.’