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.
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|
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.
MATT CAMPBELL, Driver, No. 912 Porsche 911 GT3 R
|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|
“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
|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|
|7||18||A.Imperatori/O.Jarvis/E.Liberati||Nissan GTR Nismo GT3||PP||312|
|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|
|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|
|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||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||34||C.Krognes/N.Catsburg||BMW M6 GT3||PP||28|