Griffin tops First Practice session ahead of McLaren in British GT Championship at Spa

8 07 2011

Griffin believes the British GT Championship is one of the strongest national series in the world © Jakob Ebrey

Griffin hopes First Practice session pace can carry through to race victories © Jakob Ebrey

MATT Griffin and Duncan Cameron topped the timing sheets in the first free practice session at Spa-Francorchamps in the British GT Championship with an impressive lap sixth tenths faster than the nearest challenger.

The MTECH Racing Ferrari 458 has been quick all season but mechanical problems have cost the team race wins but a best time of 2.23.070, some 1.6 seconds quicker than pole position last year has given the team hopes for the two Belgian races this weekend.

The new McLaren MP4-12C making its international racing debut at the hands of Chris Goodwin and Andrew Kirkaldy was the closest to the Ferrari clocking a time of 2.23.637 around the famous Spa circuit.

Griffin was pleased with the session and hopes that the team can build on the performance and push for podiums and ultimately a race win.

He added: “We are quicker than the McLaren, which is pleasing. The car is going well; in fact, it feels as if it is on rails around here, so things are looking good. But we always seem to start the weekends well, and there is a long way to go yet.”

The ever consistent Trackspeed came next in third and fourth with David Ashburn and Richard Westbrook clocking 2.24.283 in their Porsche ahead of Gregor Fisken and Tim Bridgman on 2.24.752.

There were dramas for the Preci-Spark Mercedes of David and Godfrey Jones and the Predator CCTV Ferrari of Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox. The Jones car spun at the top of Eau Rouge and couldn’t be restarted, missing the second half of the session, while Burton and Wilcox failed to set a representative time due to suspected clutch problems.

In GT4, the Peter Erceg/Chris Holmes Secure Racing/Barwell Motorsport Aston Martin led the way by more than a second from the Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta of Dan Denis and David McDonald.

Free Practice 1 Results

GT3

1  MTECH Ferrari  Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin (IRL)  2m 23.070s

2  McLaren GT McLaren MP4-12C  Chris Goodwin/Andrew Kirkaldy  2m 23.637s

3  Trackspeed Porsche  David Ashburn/Stephen Jelley  2m 24.283s

4  Trackspeed Porsche  Gregor Fisken/Tim Bridgman  2m 24.752s

5  United Autosports Audi  Mike Guasch (USA)/Matt Bell  2m 26.025s

6  CRS Racing Ferrari  Andrew Tate/Alex Mortimer  2m 26.228s

7  Rosso Verde Ferrari  Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen (DEN)  2m 26.378s

8  United Autosports Audi  John Bintcliffe/Jay Palmer  2m 26.524s

9  Preci-Spark Mercedes  David Jones/Godfrey Jones  2m 27.094s

10  Chad Racing Ferrari  Iain Dockerill/Tom Ferrier  2m 27.464s etc

GT3B

1  MTECH Ferrari  John Dhillon/Aaaron Scott  2m 31.759s

GT4

1  Barwell Aston Martin  Peter Erceg/Chris Holmes  2m 35.747s

2  Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta  Dan Denis/David McDonald  2m 36.904s

3  Lotus Sport UK Lotus  Ollie Jackson/Phil Glew  2m 37.247s etc





MTECH Racing and Griffin take positives after frustrating weekend at Oulton Park

27 04 2011

Griffin believes the British GT Championship is one of the strongest national series in the world © Jakob Ebrey

Griffin thinks the new Ferrari 458 has the potential but was unlucky at Oulton © Jakob Ebrey

MTECH Racing driver Matt Griffin is looking to the future after an ultimately disappointing weekend at Oulton Park in the British GT Championship.

Griffin and teammate Duncan Cameron had a good first race but still only claimed seventh place after being forced to start from the back of the grid due to limited running time.

Race Two at Oulton Park led to retirement for MTECH Racing’s new Ferrari 458 from sixth place in the dramatic race which will be a concern for the team who were looking for improved reliability in the new car.

But Griffin is optimistic that once the car has done a few more miles and the team can get a clear track, the 458 has the race pace to be a serious championship challenger in 2011.

He told BritishGT : “The car showed a lot of promise, Scuderia Vittoria’s Ferrari 458 won Race Two so you can see the car is quick. From our point of view it’s a disappointing race but we’ll bounce back, get a bit of testing with the car and push on for the next one.

“We made a couple of adjustments to the car which did make the car better in Race Two but it was a very messy race with the safety cars. The only race laps I got I was stuck behind Allan Simonsen who seemed to be struggling because I was a lot quicker but it’s just very difficult to overtake round here.

Scuderia Vittoria showed the 458 was quick with a win in Race Two © Jakob Ebrey

Scuderia Vittoria showed the 458 was quick with a win in Race Two © Jakob Ebrey

With pace good in the second race Griffin and Cameron were looking to push on for the podium but a tactical error in the pitlane mayhem and then a car failure put paid to any ambitions of points.

Griffin concluded: “When the safety car came out again we pitted and I think we made a slight mistake as a team in pitting a lap late which put us down the pack and wrote off the race.

“Duncan had been doing a great job and was back up to sixth and then we had a small failure on the car. We don’t know what it is but well have a look when we get back.”