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“The pinnacle is V8 Supercars”: Canberra speedster’s rise up the ranks

(Photo supplied by Matt Stone Racing)

Canberra racing driver, Cameron Hill, was 17-years-old when he emerged victorious from Formula Ford Series in 2015. His career goal of heading overseas to race open-wheelers (cars without roofs), was shut down due to budget restrictions. He would then shift his focus to making a career for himself here on home soil.

Now 26, Hill races for Matt Stone Racing and has some significant wins under his belt. He won the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship in 2021 and has had a Bathurst 1000 start among his series of main game starts for his Rookie Season this year.

Hill has established himself as a racer, but he also runs his own family race team in Hume.

I sat down with Cam to discuss his career, looking at the transition from Carrera Cup Australia to Supercars via the Super 2 Development series.

Cameron Hill on track for his first practice session in Supercars for Matt Stone Racing in Newcastle – March 2023
Q: You Started Carrera Cup in 2018, how did that come about?

A: If we go back a little bit further, I had won the Formula Ford Championship in 2015 and from there it was like – well what is the next step? Through that, I had a test day in an open-wheeler over in Austin, Texas and it was incredible. It was the most awesome experience and I really wanted to stay over there, but the financial realities of it were just too far out of reach. We went from running our own little privateer Formula Ford team, to moving to another country and doing all that.

That’s when we stumbled across the Toyota 86 Series and that was the right place for me in that time of my career. I started racing at Supercars events and began getting my name out there. But I had Porsche’s circled as that’s where I wanted to go as the next step.

Skipping forward to 2018, that was the first year of the brand-new Gen 2, 991 Carrera Cup Car. So there was a batch of cars coming over for the season. However, I wasn’t really at the top of the list to get one.

Cam Hill testing ppen-wheelers in America

I gave Allan Webber (Father of Mark Webber) a call cause he’s a mate of mine and he still lives in Jerrabomberra. I said to Al, “Mate I’m ready to go, but I don’t know if I’m going to get one (a car)” and Al said, “I’ll let you know what I can try and do for you.”

A week or two later, I got a call from Porsche to say I’ve got the very last car. It came to us with the Porsche livery on it and everything. It was pretty cool and suddenly a brand new race car turned up at the workshop.

Q: You claimed the championship in 2021, was this what had Triple 8 looking to have you in a Super 2 seat for 2022?

A: Probably yes, in a way. We all know covid wasn’t gone, we had big lockdowns and it didn’t look like we were going to get our series in and then they did a big double event at Bathurst to get enough done to make it happen.

Halfway through the year, I really narrowed my focus on trying to move my career up here in Australia. Obviously, the pinnacle is V8 Supercars and so I started to try and have conversations with teams in Supercars.

Delivery of the Carrera Cup Car to Cam Hill

I spoke to quite a few of the teams, and it was good to talk to them, but they all kind of gave me the same feedback: I’d have to do Super 2 before they’d have a good look at me.

It was a bit disheartening in a way because I sort of thought I felt like was in a good spot with my driving. I was already beating guys in Carrera Cup who are co-drivers for Supercars, like how much different could it be?

Then, Triple Eight called and asked about my plans for 2022. I told them I was considering all my options and Super 2 was one of them. They invited me to join their team.

Jokingly, I told them I’d think about it, before telling them yes I would love to! I wanted to put myself in the best situation possible. At the time, Broc (Feeney) was winning in Super 2 for Triple Eight and Red Bull (Holden Racing Team) were dominating in Supercars.

Super 2 announcement with Triple Eight Race Engineering
Q: Super 2 in 2022, no race wins but a handful of podiums. Now, in 2023 you’re at Matt Stone Racing. What was it like last year when you weren’t getting lots of racing laps in?

A: We definitely learnt a whole lot going to Triple Eight and racing Super 2 with them. It definitely really opened my eyes to the level that they are operating at.

The racing was weird, we didn’t really get a lot of laps under green flag. There’s not a lot of time in the championship. I had a bad race at Eastern Creek where I got taken out. Then as a result, I dumped a whole heap of points in the championship, and then suddenly there’s not enough time in the championship to make that back up with it only being 6-Rounds long.

I guess the good thing was, the speed was there. I was fast and was able to show my talent, earning myself a co-drive at Bathurst, which of course was an amazing experience and opportunity.

Cameron Hill’s 2023 Chariot – ZL1 Chevrolet Camaro
Q: And now look at where you are, you’re 2 rounds into your first full time season in the Supercars Championship. What has the start to the season been like?

A: It’s been a good start really. I always knew Newcastle was going to be a baptism by fire, and my goal was to just get through the weekend and learn as much as I can. In the Sunday race I had the 7th or 8th fastest lap time in the race. It’s really encouraging that the speed is there, it’s just about putting the whole weekend together now.

There’s a lot of qualifying in the Supercars Championship, and at the Australian Grand Prix, I just don’t feel like I maximised qualifying, and so from there, it’s hard to then drag yourself out of it in the race. You need a few things to go your way and a clear track to open up in front of you.