The Aussie put down a flying lap of 1m13.672 in the #7 963 to lead a Porsche Penske Motorsport lockout of the front row on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile circuit.
Turn 1 is the notorious trouble spot on the layout, with a heavy braking zone coming after the long front straightaway making it tempting for desperate passes.
When Campbell takes the green flag, he aims to do better than his last time starting from pole at Laguna Seca – when he locked up at Turn 2 lockup and immediately dropped from the lead.
“Sometimes the race start hasn’t been our strongest point, but likely we’ve improved on that quite a lot,” Campbell said. “It helps having both of our team cars at the front as well.
“Hopefully, we can just get through Turn 1 cleanly at the start of the race and then really settle into a rhythm for at least five laps before we start getting some traffic because that’s when the race is really going to start and get crazy.
“So, hopefully I can just get through Turn 1, unlike Laguna, and we can really get our head down and just focus on our own race because track position is going to be extremely important tomorrow with the amount of cars on such a small track and very, very busy. Yeah, the start is going to be very critical.”
#7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963: Matt Campbell, Felipe Nasr
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
Another factor has been the weather, with cool conditions throughout the weekend thus far hindering how quickly the tires are coming up to temperature for several in the GTP category. Sunday’s forecast calls for low 70s and cloudy skies with a 50 percent chance for rain.
“Surprisingly, I feel like in our, let’s say last two or three events especially I feel like our race starts and also safety car restarts, our warmup procedure or what we’re doing has been one of the strongest,” Campbell said. “We’ve been really able to turn on the tire a lot quicker than everyone else; it feels like, at least under race conditions.
“Tomorrow will just be a big challenge for everyone, but also for us. So, I feel like we just need to try and work ’em like hell because when we take the start, tires won’t be up to pressure or temperature, that’s for sure.
“So, we’ll have to be very mindful of Turn 1.”