ONE of the most popular international drivers to visit the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour has set his sights on a return in 2017.
Irishman Matt Griffin missed the 2016 race, but after finishing third outright in 2012 and second in 2013 with Asian outfit Clearwater Racing, says he is determined to return to the Mountain for another crack at a Bathurst win.
“After doing the Bathurst 12 Hour for the 4 consecutive years it was strange not to be on the mountain this year for the race,” Griffin told Bathurst12hour.com.au.
“I think you can ask any driver and he will tell you either Mount Panorama is the best track hey have driven – or is on their bucket list if they haven’t driven there. I definitely want to back there in 2017.”
The Irishman, who a former champion in the Blancpain Endurance Series and the European LeMans Series, is perhaps best known in Australia for his heroic drive in the 2013 Bathurst 12 Hour for the Clearwater team.
Griffin and teammate Craig Baird hauled their Ferrari back into race contention after losing a full lap after suffering earlier damage, ultimately finishing second behind the winning Erebus Mercedes.
Griffin’s mid-race stint, where he pulled back nearly two minutes of track position on the leader – despite battling a badly damaged front splitter – was perhaps the drive of the race.
Noted for his prowess behind the wheel of Ferrari’s finest, the Irishman says he is keen to explore any option to ensure a competitive return to Bathurst next year.
“Every year I have done has been behind the wheel of a Ferrari and I have very close links with Michelotto and obviously drive for AF Corse, but definitely if there was an opportunity with a different manufacturer it would be something I would be interested in too,” he explained.
“I have finished 2nd and 3rd at the race in the past so am missing the win – so if I can get back to the race in 2017 the goal would be to come away to the biggest trophy.”