A young Australian racing driver is set to follow in Mark Webber’s footsteps, beating the odds to take on the world’s biggest races in a wild new car.

Australian racing driver Matt Campbell has beaten the odds to become the youngest driver in a superstar line-up for Porsche at many of the world’s most important races next year.

The 27-year-old Queenslander will follow in the footsteps of Mark Webber, strapping into an exotic prototype race car to take on races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Porsche Penske Motorsport named Campbell as a core driver of a new car that will take on Ferrari, Toyota, BMW, and other manufacturers in endurance races around the world. Having taken victory in many races for road-based GT cars, Campbell will swap his Porsche 911 for a twin-turbocharged V8 hybrid machine in the exotic Porsche 963.

“It’s a big step up from what I’m used to,” he said.

“I think it’s really cool that Porsche put their trust in a couple of young drivers.

“It’s surreal to finally be in this position.”

The young racer edged out rivals with F1 and IndyCar experience to land a place on a team owned by racing legend Roger Penske. Motorsport commentator Richard Craill said Campbell’s deal with Penske Porsche Motorsport “is a massive deal for the sport”.

“The fact that he has got the nod out of that incredible pool of talent for Porsche and Penske is huge,” Craill said.

“This is the equivalent of Oscar Piastri, or Mark Webber or Daniel Ricciardo making it to F1.”

But F1 was never an option for Campbell, as single-seater racing is prohibitively expensive.

Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff told Forbes in 2015 that young drivers needed to have a war chest of at least $US 8 million ($11.5m) to gain enough experience in junior categories to be considered for a Grand Prix seat.

Without access to millions of dollars, Campbell put together a business case for friends, family and fellow racers to invest in his career, promising to pay them back once he started earning big bucks as a pro racer on the global stage.

“We needed to try something different to be able to make it,” he told Australian media in 2018.

“We didn’t have the budget or the money to do it any other way.”

Campbell said it was “very special” to tell people who invested in his early career about the Penske Porsche deal.

“If it wasn’t for all of those people I would probably still be a builder in my home town of Warwick,” he said.

“I’m very grateful for what they’ve been able to do for me.

“I’ve been quite lucky and had some success at the 24 Hours of Daytona and Le Mans in class. I’d like to go one better and win overall.

“That would mean a hell of a lot.”

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