Matthew Marsh – From East To Ouest
Marsh and Darryl O’Young made their LMES debut at Monza –
in the Noble Group / GruppeM Porsche.
We caught up
with the tall, Hong Kong-based Marsh (right) at Monza,
just before the final practice session on Saturday morning.
So off you go Matthew, explain how this project
“Kenny Chen and I first met at the Macau Grand
Prix in 2003. I went on to win the Carrera Cup Asia Championship
in 2004, and had this long-term dream to race at Le Mans. As a small
boy, I’d seen the Silverstone 1000 Km, with people such as
Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass racing, and it was always my dream to
race at Le Mans.
announced his plan to enter the FIA GT Championship, and at the
Porsche Awards Dinner last year, he suggested that he was going
to enter the LMES. He offered Darryl and I (below) the
chance to run this car alongside his Porsche, and without Kenny
offering us a great deal to do the LMES, we couldn’t have
What is the Noble Group?
“It’s a Hong Kong-based supply chain
management company. They deal in all sorts of raw materials, such
as iron ore, coal and crude oil.
Elman is the founder of the company (annual turnover $8.6 billion),
and he’s an exceptional entrepeneur. He sees a link between
what he does and what racing drivers do. His company will buy iron
ore from Australia, for example, ship it to China in its own ships,
then sell it to a Chinese company, and perhaps take processed steel
in payment for it.
“The other key person involved is Tim Huxley.
He’s a Hong Kong-based ship broker, working for Clarksons,
the largest ship broker in the world. He’s been based in Honk
Kong for about 15 years, as I have.
“At the Macau GP in ’99 or 2000, Tim
had bought into a touring car team, and he persuaded some of his
business associates to sponsor the car - and the Noble Group has
been a sponsor of Tim’s ever since. I drove Tim’s touring
car, and he suggested we should try and race in the Carrera Cup
support race at the Macau GP in 2003 – and we did. I took
pole position and finished third, and went on to win the championship
“I kept on at Tim, and made a good case for
doing Le Mans, and the natural point to start was in the LMES –
so here we are at Monza, one of the great circuits. But I need to
thank Richard Elman. I sent him a proposal, and the reply came back
from him simply saying ‘You’re on’. So this is
the Noble Group / GruppeM Porsche.”
And at that point, Matthew Marsh had finished changing
into his overalls, and was ready for the third practice session.
turn out to be quite the LMES debut that he and Darryl Young were
anticipating, the Noble Group RSR experiencing a significant blow-out
approaching the Ascari chicane. But the gravel did its job, and
the Porsche wasn’t badly damaged. Next stop will be the Silverstone
event, where Matthew watched Porsche 956s race over 20 years ago.