Blue for Black
JC-W, OUT!! AND IN!!
Jamie Campbell-Walter has signed to drive the Creation Sportif team DBA4-03S
in the Le Mans Endurance Series having left the Lister Storm team just three
weeks before the start of the 2004 FIA GT Championship season. His place at
Lister has been taken by Tom Coronel, who has been signed for two years, and
Campbell-Walter is now free to show what he can do in cars other than those
designed and built by Laurence Pearce.
The two had a very close relationship, almost like father and son, but last year
cracks were starting to appear. Nicknamed Homer and Bart for their antics that
included a punch-up in Sebring, both realised it was time to go their separate
ways and have thankfully parted on good terms. Pearce will run in the FIA series
again, is delighted with his drivers, and will also run the Lister Storm prototype in
the Le Mans Endurance Series with Coronel and Nathan Kinch.
Campbell-Walter, in the meantime, fully expects to win races in the DBA. Hyanari
Shimoda was faster than Tom Kristensen in the wet qualifying session at Spa
last year in the car, and the Japanese won at Oschersleben with Andy Wallace.
The DBA could have won the FIA SCC championship had a brake problem not
sent the Japanese into the barriers after Jan Lammers had already become
embroiled in a choice between hitting a competitor or the barrier.
The timing of JC-W's split from Lister is odd, coming just weeks before the
opening round at Monza on March 28, at which he was supposed to have driven
with Paul Knapfield. "I don't want anything controversial written about this," said
the 31-year-old, who appreciates that team manager Laurence Pearce "has been
good to me. Laurence and I have had a fantastic relationship over the last five
years. We have won two championships together and had a great time. The
relationship has just come to an end."
Take your partners……..
However, since winning the FIA title with Julian Bailey in 2000, he has not been
given a proper shot at winning the FIA GT title. In 2001 he had a succession of co-
drivers, including the superbly quick Coronel, Richard Dean and Mike Jordan. He
took three wins, but could do nothing against the consistent finishing of
Christophe Bouchut and Jean-Philippe Belloc who took the title at the Spa 24-
In 2002 he shared with gentleman driver and team backer Nicolaus Springer. In
the most unlikely of circumstances they took victories and the chase for the title to
the final round at Estoril. After Pearce's team tactics and some stunning drives by
JC-W, they came within feet of taking the title, losing out under a safety car at
Estoril after Claude-Yves Gosselin spun his Viper at the first turn as the black
Lister was about to lap Bouchut's co-driver Vincent Vosse.
For the 2003 season, Jamie shared with Nathan Kinch, a youngster with talent but
little experience though they did score victory at Anderstorp. This year he was
paired with Paul Knapfield, another driver with speed, but not the professional that
Jamie may have been hoping for. The championship is steadily attracting more
professional drivers, and to have the best chance of winning the title, only top-line
peddlers will do.
Jamie has always taken great care not to say anything bad about Laurence or
about the team which works so hard and is genuinely appreciated. There is no
doubt that Campbell-Walter has developed with them and learned an enormous
amount, but he could also be forgiven for wanting to break out of the environment
with which he has become so closely associated and show that he can perform
in other cars too.
In November last year he tested the Corvette C5-R at Sebring, the first time that he
had properly driven the Florida circuit as the prototype was not ready for the 12-
hours in March, and had never driven a left hand drive racing car. Perhaps that is
what sparked his desire to "find pastures new" as he put it.