Sportscar365 has learned NGT Motorsport has withdrawn from Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda, following Earl Bamber’s unanticipated call-up to a factory Porsche North America GT Le Mans seat.
Bamber was slated to share the GT Daytona-entered No. 30 MOMO Porsche 911 GT America with Christina Nielsen and Kuba Giermaziak. Additionally, Goldcrest Motorsports was set to support the effort from a team side.
Rising stars Bamber and Nielsen are both Silver-rated, and thus made the lineup eligible for Petit.
The team would have required another Silver or Bronze-rated driver to complete the car’s lineup in Bamber’s place.
In an email, NGT team owner Ramez Wahab told Sportscar365 they’d wait to make a decision on withdrawing over the weekend. The team has now gone through with the withdrawal on Monday.
“Unfortunately, Richard Lietz was not ready for the weekend and therefore Porsche decided to insert Earl Bamber instead, and he was therefore not available for NGT Motorsport,” Wahab said.
“NGT Motorsport has therefore decided to withdraw our No. 30 MOMO Porsche from the race and concentrate all our efforts and energy on the last round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, which will run concurrently with the Petit Le Mans and where we have Christina running. Fortunately for Christina, she has a seat at another team for Petit Le Mans.”
Nielsen will shift to TRG-AMR, driving in the team’s No. 007 Aston Martin Vantage alongside James Davison, David Block and Al Carter.
She made her debut with that team in the Pirelli World Challenge round at Sonoma, and secured a GT-A class podium in the Sunday race.
NGT is now the third GTD car withdrawn from the initial entry list, as the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports Audi R8 LMS and No. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 have also been withdrawn. This leaves the GTD grid at 20 cars.
This marks NGT’s second straight year withdrawing the No. 30 car from Petit, albeit under vastly different circumstances.
NGT withdrew ahead of last year’s Petit, following Sean Edwards’ fatal accident while coaching another driver. The team ran an Edwards tribute livery pre-race. A second car, driven by Nielsen, Nicolas Armindo and Angel Benitez Jr., raced in tribute.
NGT won the American Le Mans Series GTC class at Petit in 2012, with Giermaziak, Cisneros and Mario Farnbacher driving.