This weekend came to a disappointing abrupt end for Matt Griffin taking part in the World Endurance Championship that was held at the iconic Spa Francorchamps Circuit in Belgium.
Griffin and team mates Duncan Cameron and Alex Mortimer were piloting the number 55 AF Corse entered Ferrari 458 in the GTEam classification.
Free practise for the trio was mainly wet, the only dry session was Free Practise 3 in which Matt did not drive, meaning qualifying was the first time the Irishman ran in the dry and managed to put the car in a tidy 4th spot.
“Free practise 1 & 2 were very very wet so we didn’t get many laps in. On Friday free practise 3 was dry but we had a small engine issue which limited our running, meaning I had to go into qualifying without any dry laps. The number 55 felt great in qualifying though and I managed P4 on the grid” said Matt.
Race day saw dry weather and the Cork based pro had the golden opportunity to start the 6hr race. After 1 hour in the car, Griffin pitted and handed the car over to Cameron in P3 and only 2 seconds from the leading Aston Martin, driven by Pedro Lamy.
“As the dry running had been very limited we did not know which tyre compound would be best to start on. In the end we choose the medium Michelin tyre and I think it was the correct choice. The car was rapid throughout my 1st stint and I was locked in a battle with leading Aston Martin and the Prospeed run Porsche in 2nd place” Matt explained.
Unfortunately for the trio, during the 4th hour of the race, teammate Alex suffered a front left damper failure. The trio were looking good for a podium position before their bad luck, however have been able to gain lots of information and experience ready for Le Mans 24hours, which was their main aim.
“Obviously having to retire from the race was a disappointment, especially as we were running so well and with the strategy we had, we were looking good for a podium. Things like this happen in motorsport and overall I am happy with the pace we showed. This weekend has given me a lot more confidence heading in Le Mans. Both Duncan and Alex did a great job and AF Corse gave us a car that was capable of running right at the front.”
Next up for Griffin at the beginning of this very busy period are two rounds of testing before heading in to Rd 2 of the European Le Mans Series in Imola, Italy where he is hoping for a repeat of the podium result that was had in Rd 1 at Silverstone a few weeks ago.