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BAMBER: Porsche GT3 Racing, Supercars and… Dirt Racing?

Earl Bamber updates us on his European races, new-found passion for cross karts, and an exciting announcement…

Photo: Porsche

Over the last two months my racing schedule has been hectic, even for a ‘slow season’ amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, and still like every year aiming for the award of most travelled driver.

I started the month of March in America continuing my racing season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD program, then going between races in the Eiffel for Nürburgring and then Monza for GPX Racing.

It was incredible to be back at the NBR circuit earlier in March and as I write this again in May for Round 3.

I’m hoping we might actually get to race this time, as our first round was cancelled due to heavy snow… typical Eiffel weather.

The morning started with blue skies and sunshine and by 10:00 a.m. it was snowing. For this season I am with a new crew at the NBR with Frikadelli Racing Team and my co-drivers Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet and Nick Tandy.

Matt, “Jam Jam” and I are also together for the full season of GT World Challenge Europe. Most years I have only made a cameo appearance at Spa in the championship, so I am really looking forward to a full season in one of the most competitive championships in the world.

Photo: NLS

First up on the calendar was Monza. While it is not my favorite track to be quite honest in an ABS car due to the ‘hit and hope you stop before the apex’ approach into the chicanes, it has been nice to be able to work with a new team and I’ve been enjoying getting to know the GPX crew.

We managed to grab a top-five starting spot for the race but this all came undone as soon as it started raining.

Unfortunately, we were forced to retire after two back-to-back rear left punctures caused us to run out of wets [wet tires]. We will fight back in Paul Ricard next month, but it has already been a rough start in the Championship.

When it comes to the hobbies section in the driver bios, I normally put racing because if I’m not working in my own team in my spare time, I am still mucking around at the track.

My partner and I spent a fun weekend in Monticello earlier this month with friends racing Mazda MX5s against each other. My partner also got a chance to get behind the wheel and race round the track a bit.

While she’s certainly not afraid of the throttle, trying to teach her where the apex was proved to be a bit hit and miss… clearly all the time she’s spent observing my racing hasn’t rubbed off on her.

The highlight of the whole weekend though had to be driving cross karts round a dirt track. Our sessions didn’t start well with two roll overs in the first few minutes. But racing for fun, non-competitively between friends was epic though.

Photo: Earl Bamber

And if that all wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I also confirmed my plans to race for Kelly Grove Racing in the Bathurst 1000 in October, which I am looking forward to with much anticipation.

I love the Bathurst 1000 as it’s like our Le Mans for Kiwis and Aussies – we grow up watching it. Equally it will be the first chance for me to watch my own team, Earl Bamber Motorsport (EBM) race since their launch earlier this year.

They have been competing in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia with three young Team Porsche NZ Scholarship recipients, and I’m incredibly proud of what they have achieved in such a short amount of time. Callum Hedge has already grabbed the team its first race win so we can’t wait for the next two events in the following two weeks.

Photo: Kelly Grove Racing

May looks to be another action-packed month for me with NLS 3, NBR qualifying race, Mid-Ohio in the IMSA Championship, and Paul Ricard all on the cards.

I am also hoping I might get the chance to finally return home in Kuala Lumpur sometime soon.

This month has marked one whole year since I have been back to my apartment due to COVID-19 and the travel restrictions in Malaysia. I have also started a cool restoration project on one of my old race cars back home, but I can’t share everything with you all in one go…

Earl Bamber (@EarlBamber) is a two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, 2017 FIA WEC champion and 2019 IMSA GTLM champion, driving for Porsche customer racing and Kelly Grove Racing in Australian Supercars.

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