Campbell snatches victory for Porsche in Bathurst 12H

Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell

Queensland youngster Matt Campbell has stamped his name into history after guiding Porsche to a memorable victory in today’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

It was Porsche’s and Earl Bamber Motorsports first-ever win in the 12-Hour event, and Campbell’s first victory in six attempts at the endurance race after several near misses in recent years.

“I knew it was going to be tough but I didn’t think it was going to be that tough," Campbell said.

“To do it the way we did in the last stint, was amazing. The car was perfect towards the end… It was great to finally win this race, especially as it’s this car’s last race."

Campbell partnered Shane van Gisbergen in Supercars endurance events in 2017 and was driving in a GT3-R, owned by kiwi Earl Bamber who partnered van Gisbergen in the 2018 Supercars endurance events.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The victory came after an audacious move by Campbell heading down Mount Panorama at the famous Forrest's Elbow. The Warwick youngster passed the Aston Martin of Jake Dennis with eight minutes remaining and crossed the line first to claim the win in the ride he shared with Dirk Werner (GER) and Dennis Olsen (NOR).

There was some tense minutes post-race as the result was subject to a post-race investigation which was cleared by Stewards. The move examined was a Campbell pass on Bathurst 1000 winner Chaz Mostert into The Chase in the final hour, when they were contesting third place.

Campbell was put in the car for the final stint. After Campbell pitted for his final tank of fuel and fresh tires, the team was surprised to see the leaders pit for fuel only to shorten their stops and come out in front of the No. 912. In the extreme heat (32C ambient), double-stinting tires was a bold move.

A late race safety car bunched up the field and got Campbell in the perfect position to attack with his healthier tires. First he was around the No. 999 Mercedes and then Campbell made a bold move to take the lead away from the No. 62 Aston Martin with nine minutes left.

There was no question that in the end the No. 912 shared by Campbell, Dennis Olsen (Norway) and Dirk Werner (Germany) was the car to beat as it sailed across the finish line 3.44 seconds ahead of the runner-up.

Campbell concluded the 12 Hours with a winning margin of 3.4413 seconds over Dennis, while GruppeM's Mercedes won a fraught fight with van Gisbergen for the final podium place.

In the closing laps, Raffaele Marciello (ITA) kept the 2016 Supercars Champion and Mostert at bay, their Mercedes and BMWs taking fourth and fifth.

That top five was covered by just 8.9s and a rapid pace led to a new race record, the 312 completed laps surpassing the tally of 297 in 2016.

Campbell takes the checkered flag
Campbell takes the checkered flag

Mostert's BMW Team Schnitzer M6 led the way at the halfway mark, following a morning with trouble for some high-profile entries.

As the day wore on Safety Car appearances played a major role in team strategy which eventually worked in the way of Campbell, who had fresher tires than the rest of the contenders heading into the closing stages.

Campbell’s move on Dennis’ will go down as one of the gutsiest in the 12-Hour history book and the 23-year old made sure it paid off as he cleared away for an emotional win. In the post-race press conference, Campbell described the victory as the best moment of his life following a tearful celebration with family members at the end of the race.

As for other results for Supercars drivers, the Matt Stone Racing Audi of Todd Hazelwood, David Russell and Roger Lago took second in Pro-Am category, one spot ahead of Lee Holdsworth, Dean Fiore and Marc Cini, the entries 10th and 11th outright.

Class B Porsche honors were claimed by Dunlop Super2 Series driver Brenton Grove, with his father Steven and Ben Barker in 16th.

The HubAuto Corsa Ferrari with Nick Percat and Tim Slade in the line-up tangled with a lapped car two hours in, with Percat behind the wheel. Repairs eventually got the car back out, with Percat, Slade and Nick Foster classified 18th and 33 laps down.

There were early exits for both the Erebus Motorsport Mercedes and the Audi featuring Garth Tander.

Erebus' effort with Scott Taylor Motorsport lost two laps during the first half with David Reynolds, Luke Youlden and Yasser Shahin. Shortly after the halfway mark, a rock punctured the radiator, ending its day.

Tander was running third during the fifth hour when he hit a slower Mercedes. Repairs put the car down six laps, and it made one of those back before co-driver Frederic Vervisch (BEL) crashed at McPhilamy Park seven-and-a-half hours in.

The event, which for the first time featured four days of racing, attracted a total crowd of 49,495.

Winner Quotes

MATT CAMPBELL, Driver, No. 912 Porsche 911 GT3 R

Olson, Campbell and Werner celebrate their win
Olson, Campbell and Werner celebrate their win

“I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t know it was going to be that tough with the other teams staying on old tires. We had fresh tires. As the clock wore down I gave it everything I had.

“It was win it or bin it. I knew coming into the race we’d be in contention. We’d been close so many times and to win it in the final stint like we did, I don’t know what to say, this is the best moment of my entire life."

DIRK WERNER, Driver, No. 912 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“For me, this is a win I’ve been waiting for, for a long time now. For everyone involved, the team, the drivers, Porsche, this was not an easy one. This track is very demanding and tough on the car. This is how you want to win a race; you don’t want to profit from other people’s mistakes, you want a win where you know you deserve it and I think this was well-deserved by everybody involved.

“The end was nerve wracking. We knew that we had a chance to win. We had a good car in the end and we had a driver who knew the track very well. To watch all these moves that Matt made was amazing. We were all fans of Matt in that moment. There was lots of cheering in the pits."

DENNIS OLSEN, Driver, No. 912 Porsche 911 GT3 R

Winning #912 Porsche
Winning #912 Porsche

“When I have teammates like Matt and Dirk this place seems easy. No, actually it’s been a really tough race. We’ve been working hard the whole week. Earl Bamber Motorsport has been doing a stunning job and I’ve been learning a lot from Matt. At the end it was just enough to get the win.

“The guys did everything perfect. The team prepared so well. At the end of the day I really hope that Earl is satisfied with our performance."

EARL BAMBER, Owner, Earl Bamber Motorsport

“We started this on the 10th of December and since then (team manager) Greg Wooster, my brother Will and I have been digging and have had a lot of sleepless nights. A lot of work went into this to cover all the options and possible scenarios. My goal was to give two equal cars at the highest level to both crews. We were running one and two several times. I feel really bad for the 911 that we had a steering failure on that car. It’s a real shame.

“Matt did an amazing job in the 912 in his last stint. He fought back and pulled off the move of the race grinding the wall in The Elbow. Now we’re Bathurst Champions in our first trip here as a team. Hats off to Dennis in his first time here and Dirk did an incredible job."

Results: Race: 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour

Pos Num Driver(s) Car Cls Laps
1 912 D.Werner/D.Olsen/M.Campbell Porsche 911 GT3-R PP 312
2 62 J.Dennis/M.Vaxiviere/M.Kirchhoefer Aston Martin Vantage PP 312
3 999 M.Buhk/R.Marciello/M.Goetz Mercedes AMG GT3 PP 312
4 888 C.Lowndes/J.Whincup/S.van Gisbergen Mercedes AMG GT GT3 PP 312
5 42 A.Farfus/C.Mostert/M.Tomczyk BMW M6 GT3 PP 312
6 108 A.Soucek/M.Soulet/V.Abril Bentley Continental PP 312
7 18 A.Imperatori/O.Jarvis/E.Liberati Nissan GTR Nismo GT3 PP 312
8 107 S.Kane/J.Gounon/J.Pepper Bentley Continental PP 311
9 51 P.Dalla Lana/P.Lamy/M.Lauda Ferrari 488 GT3 AP 310
10 98 T.Hazelwood/R.Lago/D.Russell Audi R8 LMS AP 308
11 9 M.Cini/L.Holdsworth/D.Fiore Audi R8 LMS AP 307
12 6 A.Deitz/J.Westwood/C.McConville/T.D’Alberto Lamborghini Huracan AP 307
13 19 M.Griffith/Y.Buurman/C.Nielsen Mercedes AMG GT GT3 AP 306
14 2 C.Mies/C.Haase/M.Winkelhock Audi R8 LMS PP 304
15 35 K.Chiyo/T.Matsuda/J.Burdon Nissan GTR Nismo GT3 PP 301
16 4 S.Grove/B.Grove/B.Barker Porsche 911 GT3 Cup B 299
17 20 A.Hargraves/D.Jilesen/S.Owen MARC Car Marc II V8 I 282
18 27 N.Foster/T.Slade/N.Percat Ferrari 488 GT3 PP 279
19 23 C.van der Drift/P.Tresidder/J.Bao/P.Hamprecht Porsche 911 GT3 Cup B 279
20 48 J.McMillan/G.Wood/D.Lillie/E.Barbour KTM X-Bow GT4 C 278
21 13 D.Jorgensen/B.Strom/G.McLeod BMW M4 GT4 C 277
22 55 B.Schumacher/J.Vernon/A.Love Ginetta G55 GT4 C 266
23 11 T.Walls/W.Luff/A.Watson McLaren 650S AP 260
DNF 50 D.Crampton/T.Harrison/T.Macrow/C.Wood KTM X-Bow GT4 C 262
DNF 911 R.Dumas/S.Muller/M.Jaminet Porsche 911 GT3-R PP 234
DNF 75 K.Habul/D.Baumann/T.Jaeger Mercedes AMG GT GT3 AP 204
DNF 71 D.Koutsoumidis/J.Parsons/J.Winslow/M.Beche KTM X-Bow GT4 C 196
DNF 91 K.Kassulke/P.Morris/P.Tracy/A.De Pasquale MARC Car Marc II V8 I 189
DNF 77 M.Engel/L.Stolz/G.Paffett Mercedes AMG GT3 PP 185
DNF 22 K.van der Linde/G.Tander/F.Vervisch Audi R8 LMS PP 181
DNF 29 J.Manolios/B.Porter/I.Capelli/D.Canto Lamborghini Huracan AP 178
DNF 760 F.Kamelger/A.Baenziger/P.Leemhuis/M.Parry Aston Martin Vantage AP 168
DNF 777 Y.Shahin/D.Reynolds/L.Youlden Mercedes AMG GT GT3 AP 156
DNF 92 J.Busk/G.Taunton/D.O’Keeffe MARC Car Marc I I 136
DNF 43 D.Stutterd/S.Fillmore/R.Muscat Porsche 911 GT3 Cup B 134
DNF 96 H.Morral/M.Bakker MARC Car Marc I I 44
DNF 12 D.Calvert-Jones/J.Evans Porsche GT3-R AP 37
DNF 34 C.Krognes/N.Catsburg BMW M6 GT3 PP 28

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