Griffin hopes for Blancpain success after gruelling Le Mans
Irish Racing driver Matt Griffin, returns to France this weekend for the 3rd round of the Blancpain Endurance Series being held at Paul Ricard circuit, after a gruelling race last weekend in the 24 hours of Le Mans.
It was Griffins 5th consecutive year competing at the Le Mans 24 hours but it doesn’t get any easier with experience. Qualifying the AF Corse entered number 55 Ferrari 458 in 4th position, Matt alongside team-mates Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott, were running in 3rd position with 40 seconds off the leader after 12 hours of the race.
Things took a turn for the worse with an issue arising with the exhaust manifold and after a quick fix the team had lost approximately 12 minutes. Irishman Griffin, took control of the car for a four hour stint to bring the car back in to contention and whilst doing so set the fastest race lap in the GTE Am category and was in the fastest 5 race pace average. More exhaust issues arrived however and the team finally finished in 11th position.
“Le Mans was bitter sweet this year, we finished, which is always the number 1 priority, but I felt coming into the race that we had a very good chance for a great result. This was proven when we were fast all through practice, I definitely think pole position was possible but we were unlucky with the weather. As always Le Mans was a very tough race and we were unlucky to have the exhaust manifold issue that put us out of contention the win and podium. Finishing the race is definitely an achievement though and my AF Corse team was fantastic. I think the fact that I set the fastest race lap really showed how fast we were.” Matt explains.
This weekends race at Paul Ricard is a 1000km race in which the Cork based driver will pilot the number 52 Ferrari 488 GT3 alongside Duncan Cameron and Davide Rizzo. Being the current Blancpain Endurance Series champion, the pressure is on, but with a grid of nearly 60 cars entered and temperatures of well over 30 degrees expected, it will be a tough race. Matt finished 3rd in this race in 2015 en-route to winning the championship, so is feeling confident.
“There was no rest between Le Mans and this weekend but in saying that I feel good and ready. I am looking forward to get back in my Ferrari 488 GT3, which I last drove at Monza in April, having missed the 2nd round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone due to a clash in the calendar with the European Le Mans Series championship that I also compete in. Its also great to have Davide (Rizzo) joining Duncan and I, I’m sure the 3 of us will make a strong team” said Matt.
Matt continues, “The Blancpain Endurance Series is a super competitive championship there is a huge entry for this race so I am expecting some very tough competition. I finished 3rd in this race last year so will be looking to be back on the podium this weekend. For sure it will be tough race but a am confident in my co drivers and team.”
The weekend begins with free practice on Friday 24th June 2016 in the afternoon, Qualifying will begin at 09.45 CET on Saturday 25th June 2016 with the race event scheduled to start later that day at 18.00 CET. The race will be live on Motors TV with coverage beginning at 16.30 GMT, live timing can be found at www.blancpain-gt-series.com.