Matt Stoupas - #storiesnotcampaign

13 Mar 2020

 

Racing. I like racing, but really, it's about the winning. I actually want to win. I’ve had this saying, ever since I was a kid: "Second is first to losers”. I want to win.”

Pragmatic and focused, Matt is just driven.

Matt Stoupas has a love of cars, particularly Porsches. It has been a lifelong passion. Along with Porsches he likes to race. No (sorry Matt), he likes to win. So, whilst Matt has a successful business selling some of the best pre-loved Porsches available through his company THEPORSCHADEN, he also drives race cars, very, very fast.

“When I was seven, my neighbour had a Porsche. I was never a kid who knew how to mess around with engines and gearboxes, but I was fascinated with cars. I went with him to Porsche club meets, to see other's cars… I grew to love Porsches quickly.

I started racing when I was 14 or 15, sitting in my neighbour's Porsche as he was competing in Motorkhanas. (Days held at people’s farms, driving on grass paddocks around witches’ hats.) I was learning to drive, fast, and thought, this is pretty cool. I’d watch these cars slide around, handbrakes on, whatever. I loved it. It grabbed me, it absorbed me.”

A pivotal time for Matt, these days changed his perspective on life, defining a direction for him. Porsches were a focus, but this racing! Endearing him to speed and an appreciation for how to go fast. He became a student of the apex, braking and acceleration, engrossed in engineering and design, and a deeper yearning to conquer speed from the driver’s seat. 

"After my first year of a Business and Arts degree, I went and got a job at Porsche (back then it was Hamilton's) in the mid ’80s, and that was the start of the journey for me."

He did his apprenticeship as a mechanic, progressing to become a Porsche technician. 

Always goal-driven, whilst working as an apprentice, having a paper round, working at a 7/11 and a furniture store, he saved his money. Matt bought his first Porsche at eighteen. A lot younger than most Porsche owners. It was an older little red 2.0 911S. He restored it over the next few years and used to race it at club events. He’d watch the other drivers, good drivers, and learn from them, continually challenging himself: “what can I do better?” Because of his mechanical knowledge he could feel while driving, more exactly, it gave him an advantage over other drivers. His driving evolved.

Apart from driving, Matt had started his own company in 1993, Weltmeister Porsche, a bespoke garage, building and maintaining client’s cars to the highest standards of performance. Weltmeister’s success afforded him the time to commit to motorsports. In 1998 he had his first full season of Porsche club racing.

It was a good year, and a good decision. Matt won the Rookie of the year, and the Outright Club Championship. It consisted of 9 events, 5 of which were Motorkhanas, all of which Matt won.

He continued to win Porsche Club Championships throughout the 2000s while his company flourished. Matt was deep in doing things he loved. Racing, building and selling his favourite cars.

“With Porsche, it’s the whole package. They’re extremely stylish, and at every angle they’re beautiful. I love their styling, it’s understated, not in your face. I rate them as second to none, the benchmark in their design, in their quality. It's the way they feel. You sit in it, and you feel everything. You can understand it. If you’re a driver, or enjoy driving, you buy a Porsche. They point, they steer, they do everything accurately. There’s just a sharpness to them. I love the way they look. I love their sound, especially the early mechanical injection cars, the late '60’s and early ’70’s cars. They’re just fantastic. Those Carreras, those 2.7 Carrera’s engines are the ultimate sounding Porsche, just brilliant! They just make your blood boil. There’s a certain coolness to them. I love the little 356’s, they’re gorgeous little cars. They all have a common feel, which is a Porsche feel.”

You can understand why Matt does well with selling Porsches when you hear him talk about them. The energy in his voice reflects his real admiration for the marquee brand, which he understands deeply from being a mechanic, a car builder and a race driver of them. He has a real connection to them, and his passion comes through.

Matt’s time on the track changed though, and in 2010, after winning the last three Club Championships in a row, he’d had enough. Negative politics in Club Motorsport then were overbearing and tarnished the lustre for Matt. He stopped driving.

"I had a break from Club Racing. It was a few years of change in my life, both personally and in my business.” (Matt sold Weltmeister in 2015).

From 2011 to early 2016 he took a hiatus. He didn’t sit in a race car, didn’t watch motorsports, didn’t follow the V8s. It was an unusual time.

“In 2016 a mate invited me to join him for a race at the Phillip Island circuit."

Having missed it for a while by now, and itching for some speed again, Matt got back into his racing suit, and was on the grid for a one-hour race.

"I drove a Porsche (911 GT3, heavily race modified, it was quick), but I noticed these Audis. They ran rings around us. They literally left me for dead. It left me thinking, “Oh my God, these things are quick”. They came first, second, third and fourth, and I came seventeenth. Out of thirty cars. I drove hard and I’m nowhere. It came to the end of the day, and I thought, I’d love to drive one of these cars."

Soon after that race, Matt came to an agreement with his friend, fondly known as “The Colonel”, whereby Matt would race one of those Audis for The Colonel’s team. It was a challenge, a change not to drive in a Porsche. 

It was 2017. Initially with the new team, for the first five or six races, it was hard work, there were errors:

“I was coming fourth, I ran into cars, had punctures, all sorts of things went wrong.”

He then dipped his toe into the Australian GT series, which didn’t go well either. It wasn’t to the standard of driving that Matt was used to. He was going too fast too soon, so he recalibrated and shifted into Sportscar Racing in the Victorian State Series. 

"I just wanted to learn my craft. We ended up winning the last nine races in a row, and then actually won the Championship, which was fantastic.”

Challenged with the new car, he took time to learn again. Spent time on himself, going to driver test days with his engineer, learning about Audis, and the nuances of a different car. With his mechanical and engineering training, it was time to understand how best to harness this car’s assets, and to learn how to drive it to win. His focus in a race is to make no mistakes. So his learning with the new car was about hitting targets: the brake markers, the turning points, how to build his throttle, like a ladder, one step at a time.

Matt now races in the Australian GT Trophy Series with his friend The Colonel. His car is the Audi R8LMS Ultra. It’s a serious racing beast. (It made us jump when he started it pre-race. It’s as loud as lightning cracking in your ears). 

Matt drove his own beautiful 1976 911 2.7 Targa to Sandown when we were filming him. It was impeccably restored and drove with that perfect engine note.

To see the cars Matt really loves and sells from his showroom visit him at THEPORSCHADEN. He’s always got something you’ll want to drive that is the ultimate in style.

Many thanks to The Colonel and Matt’s team for letting us shoot at Sandown racetrack with them. Matt won that weekend, by a substantial lead. He does that…

Extra racetrack images courtesy GSG Images.