AS Blarney-born Matt Griffin embarks on a 10th season in the ELMS (European Le Mans Series) he remains as driven and enthusiastic as ever.
The former Motorsport Ireland International Driver of the Year award winner teams up with Briton Duncan Cameron and South African native David Perel in the Spirit of Race run Ferrari F488 GTE Evo for Sunday’s opening round in Barcelona.
Perel is new to the Swiss-based team but has plenty of experience of the LMGTE category having previously driven with the Kessel Racing outfit.
The factory-supported entry is hopeful of a strong season as Griffin explains. “The level is so high now that putting together the very strongest team is very important. David (Perel) was very impressive last season."
The new season features six four-hour races across six different countries - one each month from now until July and the final rounds in September and October. This suits Griffin.
“It allows us to do some strong analysis after each race on both the good and bad points. When you have races bunched closely together it’s difficult to really look into where you need to improve."
Like most other seasons the Cork racing ace is looking to peak for the 24Hour Le Mans in mid-August where he will compete for a 10th consecutive season.
The 24 Hours of Spa a few weeks earlier is also on his schedule. “Le Mans is always the king but Spa is a very very important race too. It is the biggest GT-only race in the world, 60+ cars with three or four drivers in each car means you have the best drivers in the world."
In addition to the ELMS, Spa and Le Mans, Griffin will also contest the Amazon-sponsored AWS GT World Challenge. The driver line-up is not fully confirmed as yet but Griffin revealed Italian racer Rino Mastronardi will be one of his teammates.
Meanwhile, Cork-based motorcycle outfit, Team #109 are happy with the progress made with Belfast’s James McManus following the most recent test for the FIM World Supersport 300 Championship at Aragon, Spain.
Team boss Paul Tobin told The Echo: “We changed the settings, put in different shocks and suspension and a new exhaust system and James has made the bike his own now.
“On the first day at Aragon, it was very windy and as it’s a very open circuit, it was difficult. However, the second day was better and he knocked chunks of time off his previous times, he’s showing great promise."