WE’RE looking back at some of the most memorable moments or performances from the storied history of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, as we count down to Australia’s International Enduro returning in 2022.
The Bathurst 12 Hour is back on February 25-27 this year following a year’s absence and there’s stories aplenty from the decade of GT3 competition on the Mountain as we look to write another chapter this year.
One of those unforgettable moments was the charge of a young Queenslander in a jet-black Porsche in the dying moments of the quickest ever 12-Hour to that point.
The epic conclusion to the 2019 race has been well documented in several mediums, but it remains one of the most remarkable periods of motorsport the Mountain has ever seen – and turned a local star into Bathurst legend status.
Though there’s no denying Dirk Werner and Dennis Olsen’s work throughout the day were critical to getting the Number 912 Earl Bamber Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3R to the top of the podium, it was young Queenslander Matt Campbell’s breathtaking charge in the final stanza that stands firm in everyone’s memory.
Making a key strategic delivery to put new Pirelli tyres on their Porsche in the final stop, Campbell scythed his way through the field in the closing laps of the 2019 race to deliver Porsche their first major Bathurst enduro victory.
“I jumped in (at the stop) but before that, Earl (team owner) told me ‘You’re either winning it or you’re binning it,” Campbell recalled in the book Going Global; the history of Australia’s International Enduro.
“Those moves were special. For me, that’s my biggest win. I won LeMans in the GTE-Am class but the way we were able to win the race in the end and send off the older generation car was probably the biggest achievement in my motorsport career.”
Those moves were key: Campbell passed Chaz Mostert for third on lap 298.
He then nailed Raffaele Marciello’s GruppeM Mercedes at turn one following the restart, sending a dummy to the outside before committing to the inside at Hell Corner to wrestle the spot away from the big AMG.
And then, on lap 307 and with barely a Porsche’s width down the inside at Forrest’s Elbow, Campbell engaged full-send mode and passed Jake Dennis’ Aston Martin in a move that would be the winner.
It was breathtaking stuff, edge-of-your-seat racing from a young Aussie star that most people had seen develop from Formula Fords and through the one-make Porsche ranks in Australia before making his way overseas.
The fact it was Porsche’s first Bathurst major – finally adding the iconic circuit to their list of major enduro victories gathered over 70 years of competition – only added to an utterly compelling narrative.
The 2022 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will be contested at the iconic Mount Panorama circuit between February 25-27.