Irish racing driver Matt Griffin heads to Belgium this weekend for the iconic Spa 24, part of the Blancpain GT Series calendar and the biggest GT race in the world with an entry of 66 cars.
Griffin will drive the number 52 AF Corse entered Ferrari 488 GT3, with teammates Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott. This will be the Irishman’s 8th consecutive year racing in Spa 24, which includes a race win in 2013, and podium finishes in 2011 and 2015.
“The 24h of Spa really is one of the most prestigious motor races in the world. The fact that there are 66 GT3 cars competing against each other really makes this race one of the most competitive as well. The Spa weather can make racing here interesting as it can throw anything at you, but I love the track and this race so feel really comfortable” explained Griffin.
The trio arrive in Spa Francorchamps off the back of a top step podium and fastest lap, set by Griffin, at Redbullring, Austria last Sunday while competing in round 3 of the European Le Mans Series in their Spirit of Race 488 GTE, a result which comes after having to retire from pole position in round 2 at Monza due to an engine issue.
Matt continues, “to arrive at Spa after such a great win last weekend is great and definitely boosts the confidence. Last Sunday in Austria all the drivers and team did a perfect job and the result was a win. The 24h is a very different race, but we aim to carry the momentum and all work the same way here. With a 24 hour race you need things to go your way but if we can stay out of trouble I’m confident we will have the opportunity for the win.”
The track action kicks off on Tuesday with the Bronze driver session with the rest of the track action beginning on Thursday after the famous drivers parade in Spa town on Wednesday. Qualifying takes place on Thursday evening and is the most demanding qualifying session of the season with 66 cars fighting for track position to get that free lap. After this, the top 20 go into a superpole session to determine the starting grid for the race.
“Qualifying for the Spa 24 is really difficult, basically you have all the best drivers in the world trying to set the fastest lap they can. It’s amazing to be part of it and while often qualifying means very little in a 24h race, it’s much safer to be up the front so that’s where I aim to be.”
Thursday sees a free practice session in the morning; qualifying will begin at20.10 CET with a two-hour night qualifying session commencing at 21.55 CET. The superpol session will be held on Friday at 19.30 CET. Saturday is the day of the 24-hour race with a start time of 16.30 CET.
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.