Matthew Cowley is an English-born racer with a passion for racing, but who exactly is this 18-year-old talented driver from Greater Manchester?
Motorsport has always been a part of Matthew’s life. With both of his grandfathers involved in the motor industry, and his father a car fanatic, competing was unsurprisingly a natural path for Matt to follow. For young Matthew, racing was the equivalent of learning to ride a bike. It happened with ease.
His passion and ability were recognised at a friend’s 10th birthday party- a karting event at Daytona Manchester, with Matthew leading the way home the first time he sat in a kart.
After a season with indoor karting, Matthew had successful seasons in National and club level karting, obtaining his car racing license on his 16th birthday at Anglesey. In 2014, he competed for part of the season in the BRSCC Pre 90 FF1600 series, combining it with winning the Manchester and Buxton Junior Rotax championship and his GCSEs.
For the past two seasons he has been competing in the highly competitive Formula Ford 1600 series – a series which is the entry level for single seater car racing with many past and current motorsport champions passing through its doors. Undoubtedly, it provides some of the best racing action in the country.
In 2015, this charismatic young man claimed 11 victories and 33 podiums at race tracks across Britain including: Brands Hatch, Donington, Oulton Park, Anglesey, Knockhill and the home of British Motorsport, Silverstone.
As the curtain fell on 2015, Matt won both the National and Northern championships, The Star of Anglesey, Oulton Park Autumn Trophy, and the Walter Hayes Historic final. He finished second in the Formula Ford Festival Historic final, Champion of Oulton, and Triple Crown. He was also awarded the Graham Peacock Trophy for The Driver of the Year. By no stretch of the imagination, this was an impressive achievement for anyone and particularly a 17-year-old in his first full season of single seater racing.
“I couldn’t have dreamt of the outcome I had for the 2015 season and I owe it all to the people who helped in developing my skills and supported me from afar,” Matt said.
“There were many great races and memories for 2015, but the two that stand out for me are, due to an incident in Qualifying Race 2 for the Walter Hayes Trophy, going from the back of the Progression Race to winning the Historic Final, making over 80 passes to achieve this position; and driving a Ginetta in the GT4 Supercup championship at Brands Hatch on the legendary GP circuit for Century Motorsport on my 18th birthday, which was also when team driver Tom Oliphant secured the 2015 GT4 championship.”
The 2016 season has been tough with a number of mechanical issues and DNFs being outside Matt’s control. Despite the field being more experienced, with some of the best Formula Ford drivers from the UK and Ireland, Matt has continued to impress, fighting hard for places with some impressive passes. Against the run of poor luck, he has a podium at Oulton Park to his name, as well as multiple strong finishes in England and Scotland.
“After last year’s phenomenal results I was hoping that I would have been further up the field than I am, but bad luck has played a part as well as learning the new car.
“When things are not going well you can easily doubt your ability but support from family, friends, and professionals in the racing world have helped me take the bumps in road.”
Away from the track, Matt aspires to have a career in Motorsport. He has just started a BTEC Diploma in Mechanical Engineering that will allow him to combine the studies with his racing.
“My route for studying provides me with an opportunity to commit to a season of racing in 2017, along with additional training and development.
“I’m really pleased and excited to have been selected to be one of the small group on the ‘Andy Priaulx Sport Management Elite Driver Support Programme’ for 2017/2018. This will help me develop both in and out of the car.
“2017 is going to be an exciting year. I will be racing in the F1600 class and have some great opportunities open to me in the UK and overseas.”
Matt is also now on the look-out for sponsors: “As with all motorsport, to achieve this next step in my dream it will be great to have more partners who are prepared to support my current investors and share in my success and longer term ambition to go from the top level of F1600 to compete at the highest level in sports car racing.”
You can keep up to date with Matt Cowley at mattcowleyracing.com with links to his other social media accounts on his website.
Matthew also encourages you to donate at www.claire-house.org.uk/donate