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Racers in Isolation: Earl Bamber

Porsche factory driver Earl Bamber tells all about life on the farm in New Zealand…

Photo: Earl Bamber

Sportscar365 is asking drivers from around the world what they’re doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they’re coping with the racing downtime.

In this edition, two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and EBM team boss Earl Bamber (Twitter/Instagram) checks in from his family’s farm in New Zealand.

Where are you sitting out the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Well I started my COVID journey in Australia; I was on holiday there before Sebring. When the situation got worse in Europe, I decided it was best to stay in Australia and go directly to Sebring, making the least amount of movements on a plane. 

I was actually at the Australian GP when Sebring and the GP got canceled. I jumped on a plane back to Kuala Lumpur as we were testing at Sepang, preparing the first event of the season, which I was scheduled to race at.

As I landed the government closed the circuit and told all teams we are no longer permitted to work at the circuit. Also, at the same time, New Zealand decided to enforce the strict border restrictions. So three of us jumped on a plane back to New Zealand.

We drove straight to our farm in NZ where my brother and I have been hiding out since about the 15th of March now.  

How are you keeping busy during the current period of inactivity?

Dad is keeping us busy on the farm. We are very amateur farmers at the moment! But as it’s classified as an essential business we can still work here. 

Also, my brother and I have been working on the race team, tidying up everything, but for the moment we are closed as a business. 

What TV shows or films have you been enjoying recently?

Had to be the Tiger King series, then picking one movie each night recently. But I have watched nearly everything as that was my hobby before the lockdown with all the travel that I do. 

What’s your current music recommendation?

Outnumbered by Dermot Kennedy

Do you have any pets?

I don’t personally, I travel too much for them. But here on the farm we have three pet dogs and plenty of deer, horse, sheep, all sorts of stuff.

What was your first car?

First car I had was a Toyota Corolla wagon. There was nothing special about it, to be honest. It was given to me as part of a sponsorship deal by Wanganui Toyota, so it had my face on the side of it.

My second car, or first car in Malaysia, was a choice with the funds I had at the time between a mid-2000s Proton Myvi or a 1979 Toyota Corona with a 1JZ GTE engine in it.

Naturally I choose the Toyota. It was good fun until I blew the clutch in it. I still have it – it’s been sitting for the last five years sadly though. 

What’s your favorite section of race track in the world?

 Macau Mountain section. To be quick you have to be so accurate and any mistake you end up with a canoe instead of a car.

What’s the one thing you are most looking forward to the first day you return to a race track?

I’m really looking forward to seeing the team, they are like a second family. Then to get back into the car again!!

We have one of the best jobs in the world, but I really miss just driving right now.

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