Matt Halliday

Matt Halliday Biography

Born in Auckland in 1979, Matt Halliday grew up around racing cars. His father, Don, was a multiple NZ Touring Car Champion, so it was virtually inevitable that Matt would follow his passion and began competing in junior go-karting at the age of seven. During the mid 1990's success came frequently and culminated in winning the NZ Junior Championship (Junior Light and National) in 1994. The following year he won the NZ City of Sails Championship in Auckland and in 1996 the National Senior Karting Series.

During 1997 he purchased a Formula Ford and contested some unofficial championships over the winter months then set out on an assault of the 1998 series. Despite the cut and thrust, wheel to wheel racing he shone at the front of the field throughout, scoring eight second places and 12 podium finishes for an overall 4th place in his first attempt at the series.

His next campaign saw him contest the Australian Formula Holden Championship with the Ralt Australia Team for two seasons where he finished 3rd overall both times. Despite not having previously seen an Australian circuit he adjusted well to score a series of podium finishes climaxed by a remarkable 2nd place in the high profile Adelaide 500 meeting and two consecutive 3rd places the New Zealand Grand Prix, the latter with NRC Racing.

Having come to the attention of some influential enthusiasts Matt embarked on a more professional campaign in the lucrative USA racing scene. Financial backing enabled him to compete in the 2001 USA Indy Lights Championship which was the second tier to the CART Champ Car World Series. Despite missing the first three rounds he finished every race in the points including two podium finishes (3rd place) to come 6th overall in the championship and 4th in the rookie standings for first year drivers.

For the 2002 season Matt returned to the USA 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, after successfully competing is some local Porsche GT3 races, 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 but was still limped home to gain second place.

Having established himself as racing driver of high ability, Matt then contested several long and short term racing campaigns which sealed his reputation as a serious competitor over the following years. To date his experience includes a variety of campaigns including USA Champ Cars, A1GP, Formula Renault V6, V8 Supercars (Enduro), Porsche GT3 and Porsche Supercup (Europe).

Although the outcome of his 2007 three race Champ Car campaign was not what he had hoped for, his performances in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport were significant after he qualified on the front row of the starting grid for the first ever race in which he finished 3rd at Britain’s tricky Brands Hatch circuit. He then drove most of the remaining rounds to see New Zealand 4th overall for the debut A1GP season.

Matt’s performances were nowhere more noticed than in his home country where he was then presented with the prestigious Jim Clark Trophy which is he highest accolade in New Zealand motor racing. The following season he only contested four A1GP rounds again qualifying on the front row of the grid in South Africa where he collected two 3rd placings. The final round was at Brands Hatch where a spirited come from behind drive saw him secure New Zealand’s runner up spot in the Championship.

A short campaign in the Asian Formula Renault V6 Championship netted several race wins and 2nd overall despite only contesting four of the six rounds. While contesting these various single-seater events, opportunities also arose to drive in the Australian V8 Supercar endurance events with teams the calibre of Larkham Orrcon Racing (with Mark Larkham and Alan Menu), Ford Performance Racing (with Mark Winterbottom, David Brabham, Owen Kelly and Cameron McLean) and Britek Irwin Racing (with Marcus Marshall). The best result form these races was 8th at Sandown Park while 11th and 13th places at Bathurst were rewarding having at times run as high as 3rd at both Bathurst and Sandown.

Although Matt’s career has been moulded around single- seater racing, top level Porsche racing has been an area where he has excelled having won many races in the New Zealand GT3 Championship and Australian Carrera Cup events. He has finished 2nd overall three times in his home country despite campaigns often interrupted by A1GP racing or Champ Car testing commitments.

With backing from long standing Kiwi motor racing supporters and NZ Porsche importers, the Giltrap Group, Matt has now been able to undertake the world’s top Porsche 911 GT3 series, The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. With races supporting Formula 1 Grand Prix rounds throughout Europe and the Middle East, exposure is high owing to live television coverage throughout Europe, America and Asia.

In his 2009 Porsche Supercup debut season he took out the Rookie Trophy for first season drivers and finished 7th overall after contesting 6 of the 12 rounds. Having completed his Porsche GT3 guest appearances in New Zealand, the main focus for 2010 is again the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in which he will contest the full season with top German team MRS Racing with support from the Giltrap Group.