Todd Kelly has been able to achieve something he’d hoped to do since starting his own team with brother Rick in 2009 – bring in new talent.
The carsales racer and Nissan Motorsport co-owner will pair up with 21-year old Matt Campbell in this year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup, the youngster completing a recent test day with the team after cutting laps earlier this year at the pre-season test.
Campbell has been a standout in the Porsche Carrera Cup, currently leading the standings, and has impressed the Kelly brothers. He will jump in the carsales Nissan during the additional drivers' half-hour practice session at Winton next weekend as he gets up to speed in the Supercar.
Being able to offer a pathway into the sport is something Todd and Rick are passionate about, having run through the Holden Young Lions program as starting drivers.
Todd completed part of the 1999 season as a young lion at just 20 years old and until recently, held the record of the youngest ever race winner in the category. That was smashed by Scott McLaughlin in 2013 at Pukekohe, winning at 19 years of age.
Rick was 19 when debuting full-time and won rookie of the year in his first Supercars season. He celebrates 200 rounds next weekend at Winton.
“It’s always been one of our goals since we’ve had our own team is trying to bring young kids through it – it’s just a matter of getting the right kid,” Todd told supercars.com.
“And [Campbell’s] everything we’ve supported as a young guy – he’s very mature, very responsible in the car and fast. So he’s done a good job so far, we’re rapt with that.”
Kelly was pleased with Campbell’s progress at the test day on May 26, before the Perth round.
“He always has done a good job every time he’s hopped in the car,” Kelly told supercars.com.
“We gave him as many laps as we could in between the testing, we got him to do a few things as well … really now he’s focused on the car.
“One of the hardest things for his transitioning to one of our cars each times he des finish he goes over the data and is getting his head around all of that pretty quick, which is good.”
The team has gone the opposite way on Rick's car, enlisting 'The Enforcer' Russell Ingall, who will drive for the Nissan squad after unexpectedly racing the enduros for Holden Racing Team, and then Prodrive, last year.
A number of additional drivers are expected to take part in the exclusive half-hour session at Winton. Teams must run four soft Dunlop tyres from the Australian Grand Prix in this session.
The second additional driver only session will take place at Queensland Raceway in July.