Matt Campbell admitted it was either “win it or bin it” in the closing laps of Sunday’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, in a race that saw the Australian claim a thrilling home win.
The Porsche Young Professional took Earl Bamber Motorsport to victory in the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season-opener following a late charge through the field in his No. 912 Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Campbell, who emerged from the final round of pit stops in fifth as the only car to have taken fresh Pirelli tires, made up more than ten seconds prior to the final full-course caution of the race with 30 minutes to go.
A well-timed pass on Raffaele Marciello into Turn 1 for second shortly after the restart was followed up by Campbell’s move of the race around Jake Dennis for the lead and eventual win at Forrest Elbow with nine minutes on the clock.
“I knew it was going to be tough but I didn’t know it was going to be that tough with the other cars staying on old tires where we had fresh tires,” Campbell said.
“After a couple of laps the team radioed in and said it was 25 seconds. I knew we had good speed but it was time to knuckle down and really give it everything I had.
“It was an absolutely phenomenal race and the car was absolutely perfect towards the end.
“We sort of struggled a little bit in the middle of the race with the heat but it really came to us.”
It marked Campbell’s first overall Bathurst 12 Hour win after narrowly missing out for outright honors in a Pro-Am-crewed Competition Motorsports Porsche on two previous occasions.
“We’ve been so close the last two years, with myself in an Am car,” he said.
“Now to finally get it, especially in the last [race] of the car.
“It was win it or bin it. I knew coming into the race we would be in real contention.
“We had great pace in the last few years. To do it the way we did it in the last stint. It was the best moment of my entire life.”
Campbell, who shared the winning Porsche with Dennis Olsen and Dirk Werner, said it was an “awesome” send-off for the previous-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R, in its final race in professional competition.
It also came in the first GT3 race for EBM, a Porsche Carrera Cup Asia outfit, run by two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber.
Campbell ‘Saw his Opportunity’ on Mostert in Contentious Late-Race Move
Campbell defended his move on Chaz Mostert for third in the closing stages of the race, admitting it was “then and there” between the EBM Porsche and No. 42 Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3 in the battle for third.
The incident at The Chase led to a post-race investigation by stewards, although no further action was taken.
“He certainly wasn’t making my life easy, moving over a little bit on braking,” Campbell said.
“I saw my opportunity. His car was very fast in a straight line and I really had to maximize my exit.
“There wasn’t any opportunities left after that. I was already chewing up the tire and also the engine was getting quite hot. It was then and there.”