Campbell steps up Supercup prep with Nurburgring run

Tom Howard

Friday 14th April, 2017 - 4:00am

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Matt Campbell on the grid at the Nurburgring

Rising Australian star Matt Campbell stepped up his preparations for a maiden season in the Porsche Supercup with a bucket list outing at the infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife.

The Porsche Motorsport junior achieved a long-held ambition to compete on the daunting 20.81km course with a run in the latest round of the VLN series.

Campbell, a former McElrea Racing driver, teamed up with fellow factory junior driver Thomas Preining in a Porsche Cayman.

While the race lasted 21 laps before a retirement, the Queenslander described the opportunity as ‘surreal’ as he continues his preparations for a first season as a factory Porsche driver.

The 22-year-old will drive for top Supercup squad Fach Auto Tech after winning the coveted Porsche scholarship last year following a dominant year in the Australian Carrera Cup.

“It was a bucket list weekend,” Campbell told Speedcafe.com.

“You have to go through all the processes to get your permit and then your licence and do a theory and a practical course.

“It was a surreal experience and something I have always wanted to do.

“The circuit is daunting, long and very technical.

“To see it in person and experience it was a good eye opener and I really enjoyed it.”

Following a move from Queensland to Stuttgart, Germany, Campbell has been acclimatising to both Europe and his new team.

The Warwick driver has completed two tests at Spa-Francorchamps in the latest version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car.

He is set to embark on the first offical two-day Supercup test at Barcelona, which begins on Monday, ahead of the opening round at the same venue, supporting the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix from May 12-14.

“Fach Auto Tech were the team I wanted to focus on and be with for the season from the start,” he said.

“I’m glad to be working with them. It has been a smooth process and I think both parties are really happy with how things have been going.

“The car is little bit different and I think it is going to be quite technical with some of the circuits we are going to this year.

“I think overall the basics are still the same as the old car. The biggest difference is the extra power and torque from the new engine. I think it will be really interesting.

“It is good that we are able to get plenty of miles at these race tracks I haven’t been to.

“For me I don’t look too far or think about the championship.

“I just take each round as it comes and do the best job possible.

“It is going to be a big challenge this year and I’m not underestimating that and there are a lot of experienced and quick drivers in the Supercup. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Alongside his eight round Supercup commitments, Campbell will join Triple Eight’s Shane van Gisbergen for Supercars’ Pirtek Enduro Cup later in the year.

The reigning Carrera Cup champion is keeping in regular contact with the team and is looking forward to his first drive in the Red Bull Commodore.

“I have been trying to watch Supercars as closely as I can and I have been spending some late night here watching live streams,” he said.

“It is all starting to come together and hopefully my first drive will be soon. The Red Bull Holden Racing Team have been fantastic in working around my schedule.”