Matt Campbell said the key to victory in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Road America was not only saving fuel but managing their Michelin tires in what turned into a two-stop race for WeatherTech Racing’s Porsche 911 RSR-19.
Campbell and co-driver Cooper MacNeil scored their second GT Le Mans class win of the season, with the Proton Competition-run squad outpacing and outsmarting the pair of factory Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs.
A well-timed early race yellow, which put the Porsche factory driver at the controls of the GTLM contender by the 30-minute mark, helped keep the car in contention against the two Corvettes, which Campbell felt struggled towards the end of their stints on tires.
The Australian took the lead from the No. 3 Corvette of Antonio Garcia with 37 minutes to go while amid a fuel savings run and managed to claim the win by more than 15 seconds.
“I think they were a little bit stronger at the beginning of the stint. Our strength was managing tire life over a stint,” Campbell explained.
“This really showed in my first stint in coming back to the Corvette. You could really see them starting to struggle. From my understanding as well they went with a different tire strategy at one point to try and help their problems.
“I think that was the point where we knew we were really, really strong, especially towards the end of a stint compared to them.”
Campbell admitted it “definitely wasn’t easy at times” in the end, having to stretch the fuel mileage to a 60-minute green flag stint, compared to both of the Corvette’s three stop strategies that had them running full rich on fuel.
“The team was always updating me and giving me the information I need to do what I had to do with getting the fuel mileage we needed to make it to the end of the race,” he said.
“We did the job we needed to do.
“It’s a fantastic result for WeatherTech being it a home race, and for us as well. We haven’t had the best of runs since Sebring and now to get our second win is a fantastic result.
“Especially the way we did it, it’s pretty special. Beating the two Corvettes is always hard.”
MacNeil revealed post-race that they had options to go for either a two or three-stop race.
“We talked about both options between two-stop and three-stop,” he said. “We obviously preferred the two-stop and luckily that’s how it worked out.
“In the end it paid off.”
MacNeil: Road America Win “Just as Good as Sebring”
Chicago area-native MacNeil admitted that victory at Road America was “just as good” as the team’s upset class win at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, when Mathieu Jaminet was able to capitalize on a late-race clash between Garcia and the BMW M8 GTE of Connor De Phillippi.
“This win feels just as good as Sebring,” MacNeil said. “To win at my favorite track, in front of our home crowd and friends and family is great.
“We have about 300 employees here celebrating with us too, that is very cool.
“Winning at Road America is always special. This gives us some strong momentum going into Le Mans next week.”