Irish GT driver Matt Griffin will kick off the 2017 racing season competing in three different championship races in as many days this coming weekend.
The European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and the World Endurance Championship (WEC) are both set to take place at Silverstone, Northamptonshire this Easter weekend, whilst the British GT Championship starts its season with rounds 1 and 2 in Oulton Park, Cheshire on Easter Monday.
Griffin will re-join 2015 and 2016 teammates, Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott for the 2017 European Le Mans Series Championship. This year, the trio will pilot a new car for the year, the number 55 Ferrari 488 GTE, entered by Spirit of Race. Griffin won the ELMS championship in 2015 and the current teammates finished 2nd in 2014 and 3rd in 2016, with experience such as that, Griffin is hoping for a positive start to the 2017 championship.
“We are going into the ELMS this year with the same driver line up as 2015 and 2016, so I think that puts us in a good position with regards to consistency. We have a new car with the Ferrari 488 GTE, but so far our pre-season prep has gone very well so I am feeling very confident, the aim is to fight again for the championship” explained Matt.
In the World Endurance Championship (WEC), the Irishman will team up with his 2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series teammate Mok Weng Sung and Kieta Sawa again in a Ferrari 488 GTE, run by Singapore based team Clearwater Racing. Griffin has raced with the team on many occasions, which include wins in GT Asia, Asian Le Mans Series and 2 podiums at Bathurst 12hr.
“Competing in the WEC with Clearwater Racing is very exciting. The fact that the team is based in Singapore shows the amount they have committed to the championship. I know both my teammates very well and have huge confidence in them and the team. The WEC season is long so for us its important to start strong and I really think we have a very good chance of getting to the podium on Sunday.
Griffin returns to the British GT Championship in 2017 after a few years break with long-term teammate Duncan Cameron. The duo will race a Ferrari 488 in the GT3 spec. As the Cork based driver will miss qualifying on Saturday due to being at Silverstone, the teammates will start the two 1 hour races at the back of the grid, however, Griffin is hoping that this disadvantage will not hold them back too much and still plans on fighting for the championship.
Matt Griffin has a long history with British GT, having competed in 97 races in total. One more race win in British GT will see Matt become the most successful BGT racing diver in the history of the championship.
“I am really happy to be back in the British GT Championship for the 1st time since 2013. This year, like all the others, looks super competitive but I feel our driver line up with Duncan and myself the team and the Ferrari 488 will be very strong. Of course missing qualifying will make Oulton park an uphill struggle to say the least, but the plan is to come away Easter weekend with 2 solid finishes and build from there. I have done 97 British GT races and have 14 wins so I am hoping to use this experience to the max this Monday” Matt enthused.
“Obviously its going to be a busy weekend to say the least I not sure if anyone has competed in 3 race series on 1 weekend before! I feel very well prepared though both physically and mentally, so I am relishing the challenge”
The long weekend kicks of at Silverstone on Thursday 13th April 2017 with a free practice session for European Le Mans Series. Friday 14th April 2017 sees another free practice session in the morning for European Le Mans Series with Qualifying taking place at 2.05pm. There will also be two free practice sessions for World Endurance Series. Saturday 15th April 2017 sees one more World Endurance Series free practice session in the morning, with Qualifying at 1pm. The 4 hour long European Le Mans Series race will start at 14.30. Sunday 15th April 2017 will be the 6 hour World Endurance Championship race starting at 12pm. Monday 16th April 20 17 sees two races for British GT in Oulton Park, 1st race begins at11.10am with the 2nd race starting at 3.30pm.
About Matt Griffin
The 34-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 2012 raced in 8 different series.
He has also broadened his experience in the last two years, taking part successfully in endurance races in Australia, Malaysia and Dubai.
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.