A Challenging Le Mans 24 hrs for Griffin
June 19, 2014 by Leo Nulty
Ferrari GT ace, Matt Griffin experienced a disappointing race weekend at the Le Mans 24 hrs, due to various issues with his GT Pro class, Ram Racing entered, Ferrari 458.
An accident in qualifying on Thursday evening was the start of the weekend’s disappointment when Griffins WEC team mate, Alvaro Parente, crashed at the Ford chicane, leaving the car in disarray and needing a new rear chassis. They had qualified 5th in the PRO GT class and the team at Ram Racing worked through the night for the car to be race ready.
“We had an engine misfire issue on Wednesday qualifying but got that sorted for Thursday. The car was going very well. We were mainly working on race set up in the Thursday afternoon session and planning on having a go at a qualifying lap on Thursday evening. Unfortunately Alvaro had a crash which really damaged the car. The guys at Ram worked flat out though and managed to get the car together for the race.” Explained Matt.
The Irishman had the privilege of starting the Iconic race in glorious sunshine, but only an hour and a half in and the heavens opened causing chaos on track. Despite this, Matt cleared the first part of the race in a clean fashion, handing over to Alvaro just before 6pm.
“The Race started well. We went for a conservative strategy using the hard compound tyre and looking to do triple stints with the drivers and tyres. That all went out the window when the weather changed. It was really difficult out there and a lot of drivers crashed, it was just case of staying on the track. I had a spin but managed to avoid any major problems”
An electrical fire in the cockpit an hour into Parente’s first stint bought the car in to the pits for just over an hour whilst the issue was rectified, once fixed, 3rd teammate, Federico Leo, took over the driving.
Unfortunately the problems didn’t stop there for the team, when Griffin took over from Leo at just as it was getting dark, the car developed a problem with the suspension and was back in the garage for more work, by this point the team were now 20 laps down. The dampers were replaced and the car was back out with Matt behind the wheel within 30 minutes.
The early hours saw the car back in the pits with gearbox problems. After just over two hours work replacing the gearbox, Griffin was back out, however on his out lap the gearbox gremlins occurred again resulting in the car retiring from the race at 6.30am.
“It’s really, really disappointing but the car just didn’t seem to want to finish this race. We’ve been chasing a series of problems since the crash in qualifying, and the Ram Racing guys have worked their backsides off trying to get us back out each time but it wasn’t to be this year.”
Griffin now heads to Jerez, Spain for the 3rd round of the International GT Open this coming weekend.