WHO IS MATT HALLIDAY? New Zealander Matt Halliday made his V8 Supercar debut in 2004 with Larkham -- Orrcon Racing at Sandown alongside team owner Mark Larkham. Following a strong performance at both Sandown and the Bathurst 1000 last year ...
WHO IS MATT HALLIDAY?
New Zealander Matt Halliday made his V8 Supercar debut in 2004 with Larkham -- Orrcon Racing at Sandown alongside team owner Mark Larkham.
Following a strong performance at both Sandown and the Bathurst 1000 last year Halliday, 26, re-joins the team for the 2005 endurance rounds where he will pilot the second Orrcon Racing Falcon with dual British Touring Car Champion Alain Menu.
Like many of today's stars of motorsport Halliday is a second-generation racer. With his father Don a multiple NZ Touring Car Champion, it was virtually inevitable that Halliday would follow his passion and at the age of seven began competing in junior go-karting.
During the mid 1990's success came frequently and culminated in winning both the New Zealand Junior and Senior go-karting Championships.
In 1997 Halliday graduated to circuit racing aboard a Formula Ford contesting a handful of events over the winter months before beginning an assault on the Championship in 1998. Throughout the year he claimed eight second places and 12 podium finishes for an overall 4th place in his first attempt at the series.
The following year Halliday joined the Ralt Australia team to contest the Australian Formula Holden Championship. Despite not having previously seen an Australian circuit he adjusted well to score a series of podium finishes to finish third in the Championship.
In 2000 Halliday returned to Australia to again contest the Formula Holden Championship where he secured finished third in the points score for the second year running.
Following his impressive results throughout Australia and New Zealand Halliday took the next step of his flourishing career in 2001 when he competed in the 2001 Indy Lights Championship in America, which was the second tier to the CART Champcar World Series. Despite missing the first three rounds he finished every race in the points including two podium finishes to finish sixth in the championship and fourth in the rookie standings for first year drivers.
For the 2002 season Halliday returned to America to drive in an inaugural oval circuit championship - the Indy Racing League's Infiniti Pro Series - but was eliminated by a serious injury accident in the first race. After a recuperation period Matt stunned everybody by returning to the series and finishing his comeback race in 6th place, but withdrew from the remainder of the season in order to expedite a full recovery from his injuries.
In 2003 Halliday signed to drive in the inaugural Formula Renault V6 Eurocup Series on some of the most famous European circuits with the feature event in the series supporting the historic Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. Halliday led from pole position to totally dominate the race for 23 of the 24 four laps only to have victory cruelly taken away by a gearbox electronics failure on the final lap.
Halliday was then called back to captain the New Zealand team in the inaugural 2003/2004 Trans-Tasman Porsche GT3 Challenge and after some serious racing with the likes of Australian captain Jim Richards and Craig Baird, finished second overall with seven wins to Richards' eight.
After such impressive performances in the unfamiliar left hand Porsche racers, it was decided Halliday would return to Melbourne to contest the Carrera Cup support races for 2004 Australian Formula One Grand Prix meeting. Of the races he contested, Matt won two and finished third. Throughout the year he contested several rounds of the Australian Carrera Cup races and made a successful debut in the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst. Driving an Orrcon Racing Falcon, Halliday and team owner Larkham drove an intelligent race to finish 11th.
Halliday returned to contest the New Zealand Porsche GT3 Championship over the summer in which he finished a close second after many close fought races with arch rival, Craig Baird.
Earlier this year Halliday traveled to the United States to undergo a Champ Car test Mi-Jack Conquest Racing in early February. The test took place at the Sebring circuit (Florida), although it was the first time he had driven one of the high-powered racers, he soon adapted and returned competitive lap times over the 100 laps tested.
Next month will see the debut of the much anticipated A1 World Cup Grand Prix Series for which New Zealand has taken up its option on a franchise. Halliday has been one of two Kiwi's to test the A1 car at the Silverstone and Paul Ricard circuits over the past two months with the first race set to be held on 27th -28th September.
Halliday is today re-acquainting himself with the Orrcon Racing Falcon alongside Jason Bargwanna and Mark Winterbottom in a test day at Queensland Raceway in preparation for the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 next weekend.