Matt Campbell will this weekend begin his 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship campaign as part of the six-strong Porsche 911 RSR line-up at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 5, 2018.
The Class B champion of the 2014 Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia season, Campbell will be part of the FIA WEC Super Season, which spans eight events across 15 months, starting this weekend at the 7km Belgian circuit.
Campbell, who graduated the series to become the 2016 Carrera Cup Australia champion and current Porsche Young Professional, will race in the Dempsey Proton Racing 911 RSR, also in GTE-Am, with German Christian Ried and French Porsche Junior Julien Andlauer.
The 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 5, 2018, kicks off the Super Season of the FIA World Endurance Championship. On the time-honoured racetrack in the Ardennes region of Belgium, six 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR go up against strong opposition from Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari and Ford in the GTE-Pro and GTE-Am classes.
The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, which is approximately 20km from the German border, sets motorsport fans’ hearts racing: The 7.004km circuit is an electrifying mix of high-speed passages such as the famous Eau Rouge and slower sections. An altitude difference of around 100 metres makes the season-opening round into a rollercoaster ride. One unpredictable factor in the Ardennes is the weather: The sun can be shining in the Bus Stop chicane, while in Le Combes it’s raining.
The Porsche GT Team drivers
Sharing the cockpit of the #91 car, the new driver pairing of Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) and Richard Lietz (Austria) tackles a world sports car championship race for the first time together. Bruni, as the two-time champion, has contested the second half of the 2017 IMSA Weathertech Championship in the USA and is thus well acquainted with the 911 RSR. Like last year, Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) share the # 92 Porsche 911 RSR.
The customer teams
In the GTE-Am class, three Porsche customer teams run a total of four 911 RSR racers. The British pilots Wainwright and Barker join forces with Australian Alex Davison to compete for Gulf Racing. Dempsey Proton Racing competes with two GT racers from Weissach. Sharing the wheel of the #77 car for the Super Season are the Porsche Young Professional Campbell (Australia), Ried (Germany) and Andlauer (France). Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (Italy), Khaled Al Qubaisi (United Arab Emirates) and Giorgio Roda (Italy) pilot the second 911 RSR of the squad supported by the Hollywood actor Patrick Dempsey. The Porsche works driver Jörg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Lindsey (USA) and Norwegian Egidio Perfetti drive for the Project 1 team.
The Porsche 911 RSR
After securing runner-up in the driver’s championship thanks to Richard Lietz and Fréderic Makowiecki in 2017, the Porsche GT Team has now set its sights on the driver’s and manufacturer’s title in the world sports car championship. The Porsche 911 RSR celebrated its premiere in international long-distance racing in 2017 and is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car. Depending on the restrictor, the water-cooled four-litre flat-six engine puts out around 510 hp.
The six-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps begins on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at 22:30 hrs AEST (14:30 hrs local time).
The race on TV and the internet
The final stages of the Spa-Francorchamps race can be viewed in Australia on Eurosport (Channel 511) from 01:15 to 03:45 AEST on Sunday May 06. For a fee, the FIA WEC app offers a live stream of the entire race plus live timing.
Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 RSR #77): “For me, the six-hour race at Spa is the second most important event after the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Kicking off the season with such a highlight is a big challenge. The sports car world championship is a big step in my career. I still need to gain experience in the 911 RSR, however the official tests were very promising. Our car offers a lot of downforce and that gives us drivers a great deal of confidence.”
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser (Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars): “Our Porsche GT Team is facing a long and exciting season. The Prologue in Le Castellet underlined that we’re ready for this task. Together with the three customer teams, the fans can look forward to seeing six Porsche 911 RSR in action at the first race in the Ardennes. For all the drivers and motorsport enthusiasts, the racetrack is a very special place. This huge interest motivates us even more to fight for victory in both categories and to show them what potential our 911 RSR has. It’s important for us to make a good start into the Super Season before we tackle Le Mans with ten of our 911 RSR.”
Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “The Spa circuit stands for top-league motor racing and throws very special challenges at drivers and the 911 RSR. You can only fight for victory on this diverse racetrack with the right setup. The entire team knows the importance of the season-opener and is perfectly prepared.”
The Sports Car World Endurance Championship
In the Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC), which has been held since 2012, sports prototypes and GT vehicles contest four classes: LMP1, LMP2, GTE-Pro and GTE-Am. They all compete together in one race but are classified separately. The Porsche GT Team contests the GTE-Pro class, while the customer teams Dempsey Proton Racing, Project 1 and Gulf Racing fight for honours in the GTE-Am class.