Griffin Helps Ram Racing – Two titles and a Race Win.
October 2, 2013 by Tony Gregory
Last Saturday 28th September Irish sportscar driver Matt Griffin and Englishman Johnny Mowlen powered their Ram Racing No.52 Ferrari 458 Italia to a lights-to-flag victory in the 3 Hours of Paul Ricard, located in the South of France. In addition the team wrapped up the European Le Mans Series GTE Team’s and Driver’s Championship titles in the most dominant of fashions.
The Silverstone, UK-based team, which was formed midway through 2012 and which made its international debut in January of this year was fastest in the second free practice session, started from class pole and finished a lap ahead of every other GTE car. In addition Griffin recorded the fastest GTE race lap to round off a thoroughly convincing performance.
The pair had a faultless race, finishing off a wonderful weekend of racing for the Irish-British pairing and benefited from a strong strategy from the pit wall which saw them taking rear Michelin tyres only at the car’s first pit stop. By the time Mowlem took over from Griffin, he had built up a lead of over a lap.
It is Ram Racing’s third victory of the season and Griffin and Mowlem have never finished lower than second place. Their results mean that the European Le Mans Series Trophy for LMGTE Drivers will be presented to them in Paris at the beginning of December. The duo finishing 33 points clear of their nearest rival, Christian Reid of Proton Competition.
Unfortunately the path to success didn’t run quite as smoothly for the sister Ram Racing car today, the No.53 of Gunnar Jeannette and Frankie Montecalvo. Young New Jersey driver Montecalvo put in a very strong performance in his double stint, chipping away at the opposition and climbing to second place in the LMGTE category. However, a miscommunication led to the No.53 receiving a less-than-full fuel fill at its second pit stop and an additional splash of fuel was required with just six minutes of the race left to run. This dropped them from third in class down to fifth and fourth in the Drivers’ classification.
Griffin commented “Our original plan was to double stint the tyres in my stint but I felt towards the end of the first stint that, while I wasn’t in trouble then, I could be later on so we decided to change just the rears. It’s definitely an improvement on what could have been, changing all four tyres. At the end of the first stint, the car was amazing but it got a bit stressful towards the end of the stint as the car was getting harder to drive. Even then, we were quick enough.
“I’ve got to take my hat off to team manager Dan Shufflebottom for what he’s put together in a short space of time at Ram Racing. Every member of the team is absolutely outstanding and every race they give us an amazing car and strategy.
“We came here needing to finish in order to win the championship, but what they did was give us a car which was unbeatable. What that does is make our job really easy; our dominance today hasn’t come from Johnny and me, although we did our part, it’s come from the team. When you have a team like that it’s so easy for us to do our jobs at the top level. I feel privileged to be part of Ram Racing, and am so happy we’ve won the championship.”
The result not only sees the team take the championship laurels in its first year of competition, but also receive the coveted invitation to participate in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans.