Campbell enjoying life in Europe

Thursday 16 December, 2021
Photos: GPX Racing
Australian Matt Campbell may not be competing regularly in his home country, but he is living the life that many can only dream of.

Plying his trade as a Porsche factory driver, Campbell has spent the past few years travelling all around Europe and the United States to compete in some of the biggest races on the international calendar. 

From contesting the FIA World Endurance Championship, which hosts the iconic 24 Hour of Le Mans, to running the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship where he travels all around the States – Campbell spends more time in a plane and at race tracks than he does anywhere else.

The Queenslander is often tasting success and has enjoyed his fair share of poles, podiums, wins and titles throughout his time in Europe.

As a result of his impressive career, he has developed a high standard for himself, which is why he is not entirely satisfied with the way his 2021 campaign panned out.

The 26-year-old competed in around 20 endurance races across four different international championships and then finished the year off in Australia with the Repco Bathurst 1000 alongside Andre Heimgartner in the Kelly Grove Racing Ford Mustang. 

Before he came to Australia for the first time since COVID-19 hit in 2020, Campbell had a mixed year overseas.

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Some of his success included an overall race victory in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup's Circuit Paul Ricard 1000km, three Grand Touring Le Mans (GTLM) class wins in the IMSA SportsCar Championship and consecutive class podiums in Bahrain as part of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Unfortunately, there were a few DNFs that came too, however overall Campbell was lucky to experience more positives than negatives in a busy 2021.

“For me, it’s been a real mixed bag of results,” Campbell said.

“We had a good run in the USA for the GTLM class and a few podiums in Europe which is always nice, but we just didn’t have the year that we wanted, especially since we finished second in the GT Challenge last year.

“Last year we were always fighting for class podiums and titles, but this year we just couldn’t put together a championship – we had a bit of bad luck and never got to be a real position for a title.

“Nevertheless, we still had some strong performances throughout the year and I had some really good moments with Mathieu Jaminet across the different championships.

“We showed really good glimpses and I can’t complain too much because we did win some really nice races and had some good times.”

Having returned to Europe after the Bathurst 1000, Campbell is now working on putting together a calendar for 2022.

While he is highly likely to run in multiple United States based championships next year, he isn’t sure about how much of the European Circuit he will be doing. 

Despite yet locking in a schedule, the former Carrera Cup Australia champion was just grateful to be in a position to race.

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“It’s a very exciting time for me as I have been lucky to be competing and travelling around the world during the pandemic,” Campbell explained.

“I am just happy to be travelling and busy in two very strange years and I am really enjoying it at the moment. I am having a lot of fun competing in a variety of championships.

“Bathurst was a nice way to cap off the year and I really enjoyed spending time in Australia, but at the moment, my foreseeable future is with Porsche and I want to continue what I am doing in Europe.”

Campbell isn’t the only driver to enjoy success internationally via the Porsche Motorsport pyramid and Michelin Junior Programme either.

With the program offering the opportunity to launch careers, the likes of Jaxon Evans, Jordan Love, Cameron Hill, Nick Foster, Andre Heimgartner and Dylan O’Keeffe have all managed to succeed at high levels after graduating from the program.

“I am really proud to see a number of Australians coming though, and I am proud I was able to show this particular Porsche pathway works by going through the junior shootout, to being a professional driver and then signing up with a factory team.

‘It’s a proven pathway and it’s great to see people trying to emulate that. There are quite a few Aussies overseas which is a nice change from the past five to 10 years and long may it continue.”

For more information on the Porsche Michelin Junior Programme in Australia, click here.
 
Campbell will be confirming his 2022 plans in the coming weeks.
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