Picture © JEP/ ELMS
LM GTE - 07/05/2020 - Jeff CARTER
The Irish driver is often referred to in jest by the TV commentators as ‘Matteo Griffoni’ such is his passion and commitment to the Italian manufacturer.
In 2018, Matt Griffin won the 4 Hours of Monza in the no55 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE alongside his British teammates Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott.
With all racing on hold due to the Covid19 outbreak we spoke to Matt about how he feels about racing and winning in a Ferrari at the historic Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
Q: As a driver who has a long association with the ‘Prancing Horse’, what is it like to race and win in a Ferrari at Monza?
“Winning in a Ferrari at Monza is what childhood dreams are made of. I drive for a lot of Ferrari teams; I really am passionate about Ferrari, it’s much more than car. Ferrari has a spirit, a soul if you like and to drive and win in a Ferrari at Monza is incredible. I have been lucky enough to win many times at Monza all in a Ferrari and when you do you have to sign this big book. I'm not sure where these books are kept, but I'm proud that my name appears many times.”
Q: When was your first race at Monza and in what series / car?
“Believe it or not the first time I drove at Monza was in a Ferrari 430 GT2.”
Q: What makes Monza special for you?
“Monza is a very special place, for any racing driver driving any car you feel the heritage and history when you enter the circuit. It’s something that new race tracks like Yas Marina or Paul Ricard don’t have. It’s an intangible thing that I guess has been built up over the decades of motorsport. You can’t manufacture history and it is history you feel at Monza.”
Q: What is your favourite corner at Monza?
“It’s a relatively simple track which is easy to learn but very hard to master. For me it has to be Ascari, it is fast and flowing and to be quick you need maximum commitment.”
Q: You are too young to have raced on the old banked track but would you have relished the challenge of racing on the banking in a period car and / or a modern car?
“It’s why Monza is known as the Temple of Speed. The banking was very fast and very dangerous. Back then racing drivers were more like Gladiators and when they jumped in their cars to tackle the banking at Monza they didn’t know if they would come back. The bravery was incredible and because they did it of their own volition, accepting the risks in the pursuit of greatness it makes it very noble in my opinion.
“We, racing drivers, today don’t possess the same mental attributes and because racing is far safer we don’t have to make the choices that the drivers who went before us did. I’m not sure I would be able to mentally tackle a race on the banking but the opportunity to drive the great Stirling Moss’s (RIP) winning Maserati around the banking would be indescribable.”
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