Matt Campbell had a standout year competing for Porsche in a number of series across the world and was recently rewarded for his success with promotion to factory driver status for 2020.
In this week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass, the Australian talks about his GT World Challenge America and Europe programs, home win at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and his experience jumping between several different Porsche customer teams.
What was it like to start the year with a memorable home win at Bathurst?
“I think it was quite a special weekend, considering it was the last ever race for the first-generation GT3 R.
“To send it off like that, obviously with Earl [Bamber] as well being the team owner and manager that weekend, it was his first time running a car in such a GT3 competition, only coming from Cup cars previously.
“To come in and have that success straight away was fantastic. From my crew as well, it’s a really special race for myself because it’s the only race I get to do at home now and it’s around my favorite racetrack in the entire world.
“We were close the last couple of years, in an Am car even, to outright contention but to go there this year and win it [was incredible].
“The level of competition this year was so high and so many factory teams with such big driver lineups so to win this year and send off the old car was something really special.”
How did your partial season in GT World Challenge America with Wright Motorsport go?
“I think certainly on the performance side, we’ve always been very competitive and always fighting for pole positions and always at the front, considering we’re an Am car.
“In that regard, it was a very positive season. Anthony [Imperato] showed a lot of progression and improvement throughout the year as well. It was a fun year and I really enjoyed driving with Wright.
Did you enjoy the different environment in the American paddock?
“I gained some good experience on American circuits and obviously it’s a different form of racing.
“Even the style of racing and everything like that takes some getting used to but I love it over there.
“It’s so relaxed and especially when you’re with a team with Wright, it’s so easy and you’ve got a good engineering staff around you and a good crew. It just makes it so much easier.”
It was a slightly more challenging season in GT World Challenge Europe. What are your thoughts after that program with ROWE Racing?
“I would say up and down, and things not really going our way at times. We showed some fantastic speed at some rounds but it just never came together for us, unfortunately.
“The pace was there at times but it was just one of those things, with a lot of situations out of our control, so just some bad luck there.
“For sure, lots of positives to take away and good experience gained in that championship for hopefully the future.”
Was it difficult going between so many different customer teams?
“Yes and no, but as a Porsche Young Professional driver, you’re mainly driving with customer teams and you’re getting good experience trying to help the teams.
“Doing a lot of endurance races, you have co-drivers and a lot of that is Am-based as well, so bringing them up to speed.
“I think this year was a good year to be going around so many teams because it’s the first year of the new car and I learnt a lot with the new car.
“Everyone was starting off from the same base so from that perspective, it was a good year to do it. If it was last year, it would have been much more difficult because the car was at the end of its life.
“We just had a fresh start this year which made it easier.”