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BAMBER: Bam Without Thor

Earl Bamber files his first Sportscar365 column of the year as IMSA Championship gears up…

Photo: Porsche

I’ve returned to America for my sixth year of racing, but many things will be new and different for me this year.

The first major change for me is that after six fond years with Porsche, I am no longer driving with them as a factory driver.

It’s a strange sensation, having been with the brand for such a significant portion of my career and winning so many major races and championships together, but also a great opportunity to try my hand at something a little different and focus on new goals.

Another major change for me came in the off season when my brother Will Bamber and I decided to take Earl Bamber Motorsport (EBM) to America and joined forces with Team Hardpoint, joining the GTD grid as Team Hardpoint EBM for the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Photo: Porsche

We will also be joining the Porsche Carrera Cup North America ranks as a team.

It’s an exciting addition for Team Hardpoint EBM’s growth and the GTD class should prove to be a super competitive season with a much larger field than in previous years.

I can’t wait to see all of our cars line up on the grid  in Sebring in a few weeks’ time.

I’ve been looking forward to returning to the IMSA championship for another year, this time driving for my own team with my brother on the timing stand – it’s a pretty special situation and it’s awesome to be able to share the experience with Will.

Equally, seeing my own motorsport team that my brother and I started in Asia competing overseas in an American championship makes me want to pinch myself.

Photo: Porsche

There has been a lot of work in the off season to bring this project together, and we got to see these efforts pay off in our first race at the Rolex 24 in Daytona.

While we had a quick car all weekend, we encountered some issues with our front splitter that set us back.

Even so, we still made it to a Top 10 finish for our first race. I feel we are just getting started as an organization and a team, and we will only continue to get stronger as the season progresses. 

And for those of you wondering, although Bamthor will no longer be co-drivers, not to worry.

The rivalry of Bam vs Thor is proving to provide an endless amount of banter between Larry and myself.

Competing against each other for the whole IMSA season is going to be a lot of fun, but equally we both hate losing so no doubt the battle is going to be intense. Hopefully he doesn’t try to fly to the win again…

Photo: Ariana Ward

And on a personal note, with the world still largely in lockdown for the foreseeable future, making it hard to return home any time soon, I’ve recently purchased my very own RV.

I’ll be using it to continue staying at the track, but also hope to take it on some great American adventures with my partner, Ariana.

For us we find it crazy that you can purchase such a large vehicle and be allowed to drive it straight out of the lot and onto the road.

I haven’t been honked at or hit anything yet, which honestly is nothing short of a miracle for me, but I am sure there will be some funny stories that will come out of it over the course of this season. 

Earl Bamber (@EarlBamber) is a two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, 2017 FIA WEC champion and 2019 IMSA GTLM champion, driving for Team Hardpoint EBM in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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