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Home » Blog » A Passion for Performance: 5 minutes with Matt Nicoll-Jones

Four time British GT Champion and MD of Academy Motorsport Matt Nicoll Jones drove the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 for Stratstone at Shelsley Walsh Championship Challenge on the 15th of August.

He took a pit stop with us to talk about his first Shelsley experience and how his passion for Motorsport began...

How was your first impression of Shelsley Walsh?
I really enjoyed it. It's amazing when you consider how long this race has taken place at Shelsley that it's my first time here, also it's only just around the corner from where I live. The atmosphere is fantastic and the cars here are out of this world. I've loved seeing all funky and oddball stuff that's here, the 4 wheel drive BRM was a highlight. 

How did your first Hill Climb go?
We never intended to be that quick really. We ran with the wrong tyres in hindsight, we could have been much faster were it not for the wets but we had a bit of fun with it. It's certainly given me a taste for the Hill Climb.

What are your favourite racing tracks?
In this country its Brands GP and overall it's got to be Le Mans. We did that in the Aston Martin and won back in June which was a great moment. You can really open it up in races like that and we were hitting speeds of 191mph in our GT4. A little different to my time today but both totally different and memorable experiences.

How did Academy Motorsport happen?
Academy started 11 years ago from a passion for motorsport really and the desire to keep racing. The name was born out of the desire to incorporate universities and colleges and engage with their engineering courses for motorsport. I bought it out seven years ago and it has grown to one of the largest and most successful teams in its class in Europe. We've been British Champions seven times in various classes and also do lots of tuition, engineering and corporate work also. 

You bought your race car into the Stratstone enclosure and our younger guests flocked to have their pictures taken - what's your advice to any aspiring future champions?
Get into karts as soon as you can. That's where I started 24 years ago when I was five years old and never looked back. The passion started right there. That's why I've loved bringing the GT4 today as there's a great family feel here. I love seeing that glint in the eyes that I had when I was little kid and got into race cars and thinking "This is awesome!". Also be nice to your parents. It's a costly hobby so you'll need to keep them sweet.

We spoke to Matt Nichol Jones at the Stratstone Club's Shelsley Walsh Experience in August 2015.