Though his early years included formative stints in the Formula 4 Eurocup and Formula Renault, much of Mathieu Jaminet’s career hitherto has been geared towards tin tops and GT racing. After securing Peugeot’s one-make RCZ Racing Cup championship in 2012, this young French superstar briefly dabbled with Audi in the French GT Championship before being signed as a Porsche Junior Driver in 2016. Since then Mathieu has been a frontrunner in the World Challenge and the Blancpain GT Series, made a name for himself in the Porsche Carrera Cup France (being crowned champion in 2016 certainly helped), and also secured the ADAC GT Masters title in 2018 alongside 24H SERIES stalwart Robert Renauer. Shortly after our chat in fact, Mathieu even took his first outright victory at the Hankook 24H DUBAI with GPX Racing, adding this to his victory with the team at last year’s COPPA FLORIO 12H Sicily.
Turns out that Dubai is one of several 24-hour events Mathieu Jaminet hopes to add to his resume. ‘If in doubt, flat out’ after all…
“My name is Mathieu Jaminet.”
“I’m 26 years old.”
“My first ever car race was in 2010 in the Formula 4 Eurocup 1.6 at MotorLand Aragón.”*
*That year’s championship was eventually won by future McLaren Formula 1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne, Mathieu finishing an impressive 3rd in his maiden car racing season after taking three wins.
“I have many of them but winning the ADAC GT Masters two years ago [alongside Herberth Motorsport’s Robert Renauer] was a great achievement for myself and Porsche. That, and, six years ago, my selection into the Porsche program.”
“Well it is the Nordschleife! But… actually for me there are three tracks that are different to everything else. You also have [Mount Panorama] in Australia which is quite amazing and unique, and, let’s say, Macau. As a street circuit, it’s something really special and definitely one of my favourites.”
“[Pause] I don’t know if something really strange happened, but you do sometimes have animals crossing the track in front of you, and if you are really unlucky, you get them. I’ve been hit my birds a couple of times in my career. Honestly, sometimes it’s the behaviour of the other drivers that is the strangest!”
“The helmet design, the lines, don’t really represent anything. It’s just a design I like. But the colours I like to keep, especially blue, which is my favourite colour. On the back, there is also a sentence from Colin McRae which I always keep: ‘if in doubt, flat out.’ I have that on all my helmets. The design may change, but there is always this sentence and this blue.
“I usually have two other colours. I like white, which I try to keep as well, and now I have a dark blue. It’s pretty simple, but it’s special to me.”
“For sure, I really like to be middle of the pack and fighting with other drivers. This is definitely one of my strengths because I think I’ve got to an age where I’m very experienced in GT racing, so I’m pretty good at racing safely and gaining places throughout an event.”
“[Pause] Let’s say Ben Affleck. He’s in different kinds of movies and he’s almost always entertaining. He’s maybe not the biggest superstar you can find but he’s great at his job. And I may not be the most famous GT driver, but in the end, I think I’m doing a pretty good job!”
“One thing is clear, and that is to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This has been a dream since I was a little kid, especially as a French driver. But there are three or four 24-hour races I would like to try and win too, [including] Nürburgring, Spa-Francorchamps, and Daytona. Those and Le Mans are the four big ones on my list!
“I’ve finished on the podium twice at Daytona, at Spa I came 4th, Dubai I finished 2nd, Nürburgring I never finished, and Le Mans I finished 7th. So still some work to do!”*
*Let’s run through those results. In 2020, Mathieu finished 2nd in the GTLM class at Daytona for the Porsche GT Team alongside Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor. That same year, he finished 4th overall at Spa with GPX Racing alongside Matt Campbell and Patrick Pilet. One year earlier, also for the Porsche GT Team, he finished 7th alongside Sven Müller and Dennis Olsen. Finally, in 2018, Mathieu secured 2nd overall at the Hankook 24H DUBAI for Manthey Racing with Sven Müller (again), Lars Kern and Otto Klohs. He’s since one-upped that with victory at the 2021 event.
“People often think, as sportsmen, we are always really strict with our diet, especially for factory drivers. But let’s just say I’m not the best at that! I never take breakfast, I usually can’t go to bed until it’s quite late, etc. A lot of people don’t expect this!”
“In the last few years, [the Hankook 24H] Dubai has started to get big with really good teams and drivers. And that’s pretty cool because it’s the first race of the year, and you also have all kinds of cars for the fans – from touring cars to the biggest GT3 – and the Nordschleife is the only other race where you can find this. For new drivers and ‘gentlemen’, I really think the [24H SERIES] is the perfect series to start racing and to have fun. That’s why we are all here!”
Mathieu Jaminet was speaking with David Vink and James Gent at the 2021 Hankook 24H DUBAI. Images courtesy of Petr Frýba and Porsche.