What has been described as a flawless debut at the ECB V8 Utes series in Newcastle, Pukekohe’s Matt Griffin has been marked as one to watch in the near future.
Matt got the call up from Australia to race after his great performance at the Pukekohe round of the V8 Supercars in the NZV8 support class. Many didn’t realise that this was Matt’s first street race, let alone the first time competing in a V8 ute.
“I had to ease into it, as I didn’t know what to expect. There were a lot of corners that were tight and fast flowing. I also had to learn to drive vehicle at same time, so there was a lot to take in at once, but I did alright in the end,” he laughs.
With only one practise round given, Matt had 11 laps to adjust to the vehicle.
“I was third after that session, which was quite a surprise as I thought I would be further down the track. I was thinking about the circuit all night long, trying to decide where I could go faster and where I could push harder. I couldn’t wait to give it ago.”
According to many motor racing sites, Matt has made history by starting the final ever ECB V8 Utes race from pole position, then going on to win it.
Still on a high from his previous performance, Matt began the second race in fifth position. “Being a marble draw, we picked out our numbers. I was in the top five reverse grid, and I was very happy with that position.”
However, in the second race Matt did not have the best of starts, and he ended up dropping his position.
“I battled to retain it, but my tyres overheated and I couldn’t go further. However, I was told over comms that sixth was enough to bag enough points to stay on top. So we saved the tyres and the team told me to calm down, and to bring it home in one piece.”
Matt did just that. Dubbed the ‘flying Kiwi,’ Matt brought the win home to New Zealand.
Wishing that he had given the series a go earlier, Matt is now back to the drawing board.
“There are no big plans at this stage for next year. I will probably finish some BMW racing at club level, and then need to try and sort out another CV and collect more sponsors. It’s back to reality and about trying to keep moving forward,” said Matt.
Matt says he cannot thank his sponsors, supporters and team enough for everything they have done, especially those who have helped make this opportunity as easy as possible, and to allow him to focus on putting on a great performance.
Interview by Dave Sherie, words by Emma Hyde-Richards