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Fast Frenchman

By Eddie LePine. Photos by Jack Webster and Eddie LePine

Mathieu Jaminet is a Porsche Factory driver, who is in the midst of an outstanding season with his new team, Pfaff Motorsports. In his debut race at the Daytona Rolex 24 in the plaid liveried Porsche 911 RSR, Mathieu Jaminet along with co-drivers Matt Campbell and Filipe Nasr took first place in the grueling 24-hour contest. They will compete the season in the ultra competitive GTD PRO class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Mathieu Jaminet
Mathieu Jaminet with his Pfaff Porsche

The result wasn’t decided until the very last lap of the race, with Mathieu in the Pfaff Porsche holding off a hard charging Laurens Vanthoor (also a Porsche Factory driver) in a similar Porsche 911 RSR. The two got together in the bus stop chicane at Daytona on the final lap, with Mathieu coming out ahead of his rival for the GTD PRO victory.

As Mathieu told The Motorsport Diaries, “Super proud and excited about that win – the biggest of my career. A crazy finish with my buddy Laurens (Vanthoor). Just pumped for myself and everyone else on the team.”

Did those last few nose-to-tail laps and the final confrontation in the chicane create any tension between you and Laurens going forward? “Everybody thought that there would be tension, but we just raced really, really hard, at the limit and sometimes over the limit. But there was nothing personal in this battle, the respect is there between us. We are both Porsche Factory teammates, so sometime we may share a car again in the future. We were able to race each other hard because we knew each other so well. I knew it, he knew it and that is why, in the end, there is full respect for each other.”

Well said and very mature comments for a young 27-year old driver. This guy is going places, there is no doubt.

Staff writer, Eddie LePine caught up with Mathieu in the paddock at Long Beach before the IMSA race, which unfortunately didn’t turn out so well for the Pfaff Motorsports team: An errant wheel nut from the Corvette team punctured their radiator in a freak occurrence during a routine pit stop, putting them out of contention. There he told us how much he likes racing in IMSA, and the US in particular. “I’ve always wanted to race full time here in America and the team (Pfaff) is doing a really good job. I’ve fit in really quickly into the team and so far this season, things are going really well.

“I love the paddock at IMSA races, it is really open to the fans. A super atmosphere, and really great for the sport.” And Long Beach? “Obviously, I’m French and know Monaco very well, and this (Long Beach) is very much like Monaco, only more open to the fans. Fantastic.”

Mathieu Jaminet made his IMSA WeatherTech debut in 2017, after winning the Porsche Carrera Cup in Europe in 2016 and taking third in the very competitive Porsche Supercup the same year. In 2020 he was promoted to full Porsche Factory driver and it looks like the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season may be his breakout year. After winning the Rolex 24, he took a 5th place finish at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, then had that disappointing race at Long Beach. However, Mathieu and the Pfaff team came back with a very successful race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with Mathieu taking both pole position and a flag-to-flag GTD PRO class win.

With the Laguna result, Mathieu and his teammate Matt Campbell find themselves tied for second place in the GTD PRO championship, right behind Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia of Corvette Racing.

As Mathieu said after winning at Laguna: “We’re back in the championship and pretty confident now. It’s good to finish on a high for the first part of the season.”

GTD PRO now takes a couple of races off (skipping the Mid-Ohio and Belle Isle rounds), before taking on the next endurance race of the year, the Sahlen’s 6-Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International on June 26th.

See you there.