Frustration at Le Mans 24 hour for Griffin
Matt Griffin’s 4th appearance at the iconic Le Mans 24 hour held in France at the weekend came to a frustrating end for the GT ace.
Griffin was joined by Le Mans rookies, Duncan Cameron and Alex Mortimer for the round the clock event driving the AF Corse Number 55 Ferrari in the Pro-AM class of the GT series.
After some initial set up issues in free practice, the car was then performing perfectly for the trio and the team were feeling excited and optimistic for the coming race after qualifying a comfortable 7th on the grid.
“Le Mans is a really tough race and we didn’t have the best start with some issues in Free Practise 1. Because of this we were all short of laps. On account of this we didn’t really push for a qualifying lap and just focused on working on the car set up and making sure Alex, Duncan and I were comfortable in the car. Nevertheless I wasn’t disappointed to start in P7 and was confident for the race” explained Matt.
Irishman, Griffin had the privilege of starting the race and after completing his first two hour stint he had already moved the car up 5 places to an impressive 2nd place where he handed over to his usual team mate, Duncan Cameron.
“I started the race, it’s always a special feeling to start Le Mans and I have been lucky enough that this was my 3rd time starting. Immediately our car felt good and I was able to move forward and when I pitted after 2 hrs I was in 2nd position and feeling confident for the rest of the race.” Said Matt.
A puncture meant gentleman driver Cameron, lost some places and following on, Alex Mortimer got hit and so the car was in the pits again. By the time Griffins next stint came around at 8pm, he was taking over from Mortimer in 8th position for a triple stint in which 3 places were gained by the end. Another triple stint by Matt at 3am put the team in 5th position, with Griffin setting his fastest lap in the third hour dominating the class in terms of lap times. The car was strong and a decent finishing position was in sight for the team.
“In a 24hr race you will always have some sort of dramas and we had some early on with Duncan getting a puncture which led to a long unscheduled pit stop. From then on we were a having to fight from behind. I did a long triple stint during the night starting around 3am. Our car was flying and I was going faster and faster and feeling very comfortable. When I pitted for a driver change at around 6am, we were in 5th position and I really felt like a podium was possible”
Unfortunately it was not meant to be, just before 9am, the car came to a stop at Indianapolis due to a fuel pick up issue with Alex Mortimer at the wheel, meaning they were out of the race.
“As I said before, Le Mans is the toughest race in the world and to retire is always gutting, especially with having such a fast car and being in the fight for a podium. It was my 4th Le Mans and now I can’t wait to come back next year and remedy this year’s result.”
Matt will not get time to rest; the next race is the Blancpain Endurance Series 6 hour race at Paul Ricard, France this coming weekend, where he hopes to extend his championship lead
About Matt Griffin
The 32-year-old, 2013 European Le Mans Series Champion, has made quite an impact on international GT racing in the last couple of years, competing successfully in championships ranging from the FIA World Endurance Championship to International GT Open as well as racing closer to home in the British GT Championship. In the last five years he’s never competed in less than 24 races, all in a Ferrari, and in 2014 raced in 8 different series.
In all of these he has been behind the wheel of a Ferrari, and has worked closely in testing and developments with the Italian marque’s GT development partner and constructor, Michelotto Automobili.