Sports car phenomenon Matt Campbell is one step closer to achieving his motor racing dream: to become a factory Porsche driver.
Last weekend, the 21-year-old from Warwick, Queensland, was announced as the nominee to represent Porsche Carrera Cup Australia in the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme Shootout – a two-day evaluation of the best young talent from each international Porsche Carrera Cup series (Asia, Australia, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and Scandinavia).
Every representative will be assessed on their engineering and communications skills, along with their ability behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
Campbell will be the fourth Carrera Cup Australia representative to compete in the Shootout – in addition to Andre Heimgartner (2012), Sam Power (2014) and Nick Foster (2015) – and will be gunning for the Shootout’s coveted prize: a position as a Porsche Junior and the majority funding for a seat in the 2017 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
“This nomination is a dream come true for me. I have thoroughly enjoyed racing with Porsche over the past three seasons and this is a huge bonus on top of what has been a great season on track,” said Campbell.
“I’m lucky to have raced with a brand which provides such a clear driver development path; through GT3 Cup Challenge, Carrera Cup and, with this initiative, onto Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
“The Junior Programme has promoted many young drivers into the Porsche factory squad. It has been my goal to get to this point and be able to test myself against the best young Carrera Cup drivers in the world. I can’t wait to head to Europe and represent the Australian championship in this Shootout.”
Campbell’s nomination was announced on the podium of last weekend’s Sydney Motorsport Park round, where the 21-year-old claimed victory in both Carrera Cup Australia races before beating the best of the Carrera Cup Australia and Carrera Cup Asia drivers in the joint overall race. Campbell also extended his series lead at the New South Wales round to 73.5 points ahead of second placed drivers Nick McBride and Alex Davison.
The decision to send Campbell as the local nominee was an obvious one, said Porsche Cars Australia Motorsport Manager, Kurt Sakzewski.
“We are proud to announce Matt as our nominee for the 2016 Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme Shootout. We have seen Matt progress from a quick, shy, quietly spoken teenager in GT3 Cup Challenge to the well-rounded and immensely talented race car driver he is today. We believe he will be a leading contender for this year’s Shootout and can’t wait to see how he performs,” said Sakzewski, who suggests Campbell is a model representative of Australia’s Porsche Motorsport Pyramid.
“We have established a fantastic model in Australia where young racers can rise through the ranks to one of the nation’s most competitive championships. Matt has not only followed this path, but has become one of the country’s stand-out young drivers, so much so that he has gained the attention of talent hungry Supercars teams.
“From our perspective, it would be fantastic to see Matt receive the scholarship and continue his ascent up the Motorsport Pyramid. We have seen what drivers can achieve with the support of the Porsche brand; Earl Bamber being the star success story – moving from GT3 Cup Challenge through to Le Mans victory. Matt has every bit of talent needed to replicate this feat.”
Campbell, now in his second year of Carrera Cup competition, began racing with Porsche in 2014, winning the Class B title in the second-tier Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series. Campbell then graduated to Carrera Cup in 2015, taking third in the championship in his rookie season. Now, five rounds into the eight round season, Campbell holds a commanding series stronghold.