Every racing driver aspires to reach the big leagues in motorsport internationally, but few are as driven as 24-year-old Matt Griffin.
The Aucklander has raced against the likes of Nick Cassidy, Mitch Evans, Earl Bamber and Tom Blomqvist and won the North Island title against them. Griffin knows where he wants to be, but understands the road is a long and hard one to achieve.
“My dream is to be a Supercar driver, I know that’s going to be extremely hard, but I’d like to get as close as I can,” Griffin said.
“I’d love to get a GT3 drive—that’s what I’m aiming for. Budget plays a big role in motorsport for everyone, so I can only go far as sponsorship goes, but I’ll just do the best I can and improve every time I go out.
“In the meantime, I want to impress as many people as possible.”
With back-to-back BMW Race Driver Series E30 titles under his belt, his hard work caught the attention of New Zealand motor racing stalwarts Mortimer Motorsport—regulars in the ENEOS North Island Endurance Series. Griffin was drafted into the team for this year’s series to driver their V8-powered BMW M3 E36.
The youngster took the opportunity in his stride. With the aim of making a name for himself, he continued his form out of BMWs with a Class One third-place finish in the series opener at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park.
He went even better at the second round at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, taking out the class win and third place overall. The feat was especially impressive given leaders John Midgley and Matt Whittaker were in much faster machinery—a Ford Falcon V8 SuperTourer and a Porsche 911 991 GT3 Cup car respectively.
Griffin drives the third BMW in the Mortimer Motorsport fleet, which has a illustrious winning history in classes around the country. Compared to his 120hp E30, the M3 is a new animal Griffin has had to tame.
“It’s a dream come true to race something so fast and for such a cool team.
“It’s fantastic to drive. The sound and the smell is just everything I could ever dreamt of. Having 600hp is nuts, I’ve got to be so careful. Round one was my first time on slicks, so the grip was incredible. It’s so much to take in and learn.
“I’ve been thrown in the deep end, but it’s paid off.”
A mechanic by trade, Griffin knows the cars he drives inside and out. He’s a strong believer in testing car set-up to find the perfect sweet spot to further understand each car.
Mortimer Motorsport director Warwick Mortimer is impressed by Griffin’s ability and mechanical knowledge, which he believes is a valuable asset for the youngster.
Mortimer likened Griffin to Scott McLaughlin; another Kiwi racing driver winning on the Supercars stage with a mechanical background.
“If you look at Scott McLaughlin or any of the guys that are good in Australia or in the United States, they are all good and have a confidence when it comes to mechanical knowhow and they’re bloody fast as well,” Mortimer said.
“He’s great and certainly is up to expectation. I’m absolutely thrilled with him, we’re confident he’ll win the series without much trouble and I’m putting a few things in place that will hopefully be beneficial for him next year.”
Mortimer is confident Griffin has what it takes to be successful overseas in series like Supercars or Porsche Carrera Cup.
“There’s a few roads he could go down, one could be Porsches in Australia and Asia or Supercars. He’s proving to be very good in what we’re doing right now in endurance racing.
“He could be successful overseas without a doubt. He’s got that potential, he’s fast and he’s good on machinery. Given the right break he could be very good for New Zealand motorsport.”
Griffin said he has some plans in the pipeline for the next summer season with the goal to win the CareVets Toyota 86 Scholarship. Before that he’ll look to close out the ENEOS North Island Endurance Series with Class One honours on the line.
“I think that I’ve got the talent, it’s just proving it to somebody or getting the opportunity to prove it.”