Campbell ‘thoroughly enjoying’ Supercars return

The Ned Racing #7 Ford Mustang. Picture: Mark Horsburgh

Kelly Grove Racing co-driver Matt Campbell is relishing his return to the Repco Supercars Championship after a lengthy absence.

After winning the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia title in 2016, the Queenslander went on to join the German marque’s factory set-up.

Campbell has only twice featured in Supercars’ endurance season, contesting the 2016 edition with the then-known Nissan Motorsport alongside Todd Kelly and then in 2017 with Shane van Gisbergen at Triple Eight Race Engineering.

The 26-year-old was a late inclusion to this year’s Bathurst 1000 grid after Earl Bamber was ruled out due to prior commitments.

This weekend’s Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight represented the first competitive hit-out for Campbell with the rest of the co-drivers.

For Campbell, the Ned Racing #7 Ford Mustang took some time to get used to having just arrived off the back of a weekend racing a Porsche 911 RSR in the 10-hour Petit Le Mans endurance race.

“Obviously a lot to get used to again, I haven’t driven one of these cars for about four years but I thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Campbell after the Additional Drivers Practice this afternoon.

“Fair bit different to what I’m used to, so I’m probably overdriving in places, underdriving in others, but thoroughly enjoying being back with Kelly Grove Racing and hopefully we can have a good run at Bathurst in a couple of weeks.”

Campbell would wind up fourth at the end of the co-driver session, clocking a time 0.3127s off of stable-mate Matthew Payne who topped the 40-minute session.

This weekend marks the first time the pair have worked together.

“Obviously a young kid, lots of talent, he’s doing a bloody good job for limited experience in these cars,” said Campbell.

“Also trying my best, but obviously enjoying myself hanging around the team on the weekend trying to learn as much as I can before Bathurst and try to get a good result up there.”

Campbell said he’s eager to return home more often to race, though his commitments to Porsche might preclude him from doing so.

The 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE-Am class winner is among those in the frame to be part of Porsche’s new prototype programme in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

“Obviously I have got my commitments with Porsche overseas, a lot of travelling, even in the last 12 months with the pandemic, travelling all over the world,” he explained.

“I would love to come back and do a little bit more but obviously that’s my focus over there and doing the best job I can.”

Action at the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight continues tonight with Practice 1 at 19:45 local time/AEDT.

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