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May 27, 2019

My Favourite Win: Matt Griffin, Snetterton 2010

My Favourite Win: Matt Griffin, Snetterton 2010

Following the announcement that Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin will return to British GT championship after a four-year hiatus in 2017 in an AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3, Racing.GT asked Griffin to recall his favourite British GT victory. With 14 wins to his name – just one behind all-time record-holders John Greasley, Thorkild Thyrring and Tim Mullen – the Irishman had plenty to choose from, before settling on the second race of an eventful weekend at Snetterton in 2010.

My favourite win was at Snetterton with the Ferrari 430 Scuderia in 2010. It was a double-header meeting and in the first race, I had a left-front blow out at 160 mph which basically destroyed the front of the car – it blew it apart. It happened about two-thirds down the straight, when we were looking like we were going to win. Luckily I managed to get it back to the pits and the team worked flat out to get it ready for the next race that afternoon. Literally with five minutes before race two, we didn’t even know if we were going to be out because the guys were scrambling so hard to make the start.  They got it as good as possible, I got the lead at the first corner and ended up winning the race!

When something like that happens it doesn’t unsettle you too much so long as you really trust the team. If you’re with a team that maybe you don’t trust so well, you have that thing in the back of your mind wondering ‘have they prepared the car well enough? Am I going to have another blow-out?’ but we were with MTECH Racing at the time and I had loads of confidence in them.

I started from the front row in second and I was able to pull out a gap initially. Allan Simonsen was third on the grid and it took him a bit of time to come to second, so by the time he got there, I had a gap of about three to four seconds. After that, both of us were going at it hammer and tongs and the gap stayed around the same. He couldn’t catch me and I couldn’t get away, but it definitely wasn’t a comfortable win. Any time you had Allan chasing you, it was never going to be comfortable – he was always maximum attack!

It was such a nice way to reward the MTECH guys for that work, because they literally rebuilt the front end of the car in two hours, it was great.

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I preferred Snetterton then to how it is now – I think you could speak to any driver and they would say the same. It used to be a brilliant high speed, high commitment track, with loads of passing opportunities and it had two corners that were up there with some of the best in the UK in the Bombhole and Coram, but they’ve changed Coram completely now. I’m a big fan of the old circuits and that’s one of the reasons I’m really happy about coming back to British GT, because I like the Oulton Parks, the Brands Hatch Grand Prix and all those old circuits like Croft, even Knockhill – if that was still on the calendar, I would be happy. I really enjoy those sorts of circuits where the driver can really make a difference and it goes more on feel and natural ability.

Another reason for picking the Snetterton win is because of the car. The 430 Scuderia is my favourite race car I’ve driven in my whole life. It was ballistically quick in a straight line – we were doing around 165 to 170 mph at Snett for example – and it had very skinny tyres, so the grip in the corners wasn’t that great, but it was one of those cars where the driver could really make a difference. It was absolutely ferocious! The downside was it was terribly unreliable – I think simply because it had so much power that the rest of the components weren’t up to the job, so we used to mash gearboxes and things. But if someone said to me ‘what’s the best car you’ve ever driven’, it would be the 430 Scuderia GT3 car every time.

About The Author

James Newbold

James Newbold is Racing.GT's Editor. He graduated from a politics degree at the University of East Anglia in 2015, which should help him navigate through the political minefield that is GT racing. He likes Marmite on toast and Oreo cookies. Speaks Spanish, but only when no one is looking.