Aussie Junior Karter Heading To America

AKA press release

mitchell griffinWhile most 11 years olds are playing playstation games or checking the latest gossip off the internet, Gold Coaster Mitchell Griffin spends all of his spare time watching motor racing.

Despite still being five years away from being able to obtain his road licence Griffin has been racing at up to 100 km/h behind the wheel of a go-kart since 2005.

Griffin had his first race at the age of eight and has rapidly developed into one of Australia’s top young racers with his biggest victory coming last year in the Tasmanian State Championships.

Later this month Griffin will make history by becoming the first Australian to compete in America’s top karting championship, the Snap-on Stars of Karting series. The Stars of Karting is linked to the IndyCar Series that the Gold Coast Indy 300 is a part of and Team Australia’s Will Power, Brisbane-born Kiwi Scott Dixon and fellow Australian Ryan Briscoe are competing in.

Understandably, Griffin is excited about competing in America’s biggest karting series.

“I’ve got a great opportunity to be able to race overseas at such a young age and I’m stoked to be able to be racing in the United States because its where I want to make a career out of racing NASCAR,” said Griffin, who is an avid fan of American NASCAR racing.

“Marcos Ambrose is my idol, I met him a few times when he was racing a V8 Supercar here in Australia and watch every NASCAR race that I can.

“The Stars of Karting is the top level series in America and I can’t wait to get over there for testing next week followed by the opening race in Salt Lake City the week after.”

Above: Mitchell Griffin and family

Since receiving the confirmation that Mitchell would compete in the series with the Tony Kart America team several weeks ago the Griffin family have been busily preparing their travel itinerary for the five rounds of the series.

“In total we will travel over 150,000 kilometres flying between our home on the Gold Coast and each round of the series,” said Paul Griffin, who is a former karter himself.

Throughout his karting career Griffin has been guided by Jon Targett. He is the only Australian driver to have won a round of the European Formula Super A Championship and finished second in the 1992 series when he raced against the likes of Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli, Jan Magnussen and Jos Verstappen.

Targett has also assisted drivers to the calibre of World Karting Champion James Courtney, David Besnard, WTCC driver Thomas Biaggi, McLaren test driver Gary Parfett and more recently Formula Ford driver Adam Graham.

Along with Targett, Griffin has spent time with seven-time Australian Champion Troy Hunt in preparation for his US campaign. Hunt was a regular competitor on the European scene between 2000 and 2003, like Targett he is now passing his knowledge on to the next generation of stars.

Above: Mitchell with Troy Hunt

“For the past few years I’ve always told Australian drivers that if they are looking to take their karting careers to the next level that America is the best way to go,” said Hunt. “Mitchell has been provided a great opportunity and I look forward to watching his progress throughout the years.”

Griffin will fly out of Australia next Tuesday before he spends four days testing prior to his opening round in Utah on April 26/27.

Above: FOX Sports News grab some footage of Mitchell at the Ipswich kart track

2008 Snap-on Stars of Karting Series Schedule
April 25-27, 2008 - West Division Events 1+2
Miller Motorsports Park
Tooele, UT

May 30 - June 1, 2008 - East + West Divisions Events 3 + 4
New Castle Motorsports Park
New Castle, IN

July 11-13, 2008 - East Division Events 5+6
USA International Raceway
Shawano, WI

August 22-24, 2008 - West Division Events 5+6
Pacific Grand Prix
Kent, WA

October 10-12, 2008 - East + West Divisions Events 7+ 8 (Stars of Karting Season Finals)
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, NV