Earl Bamber Motorsport is set to take on the final two rounds of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season, having laid out plans to enter up to two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs in both the Suzuka 10 Hours and Kyalami 9 Hour.
It comes after achieving victory in February’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, in what was the Asian-based team’s debut GT3 race, although heavily supported by Porsche.
While having borrowed previous-generation Porsches for the Australian enduro, EBM has recently purchased a brand-new 2019-spec Porsche for the upcoming IGTC rounds, according to team principal Earl Bamber.
“It’s quite exciting to start to make the step into GT3 racing,” Bamber told Sportscar365. “It’s quite cool.
“We’re looking forward to Suzuka and also looking forward to gong to Kyalami as well.
“Obviously Suzuka will be one step and Kyalami will be a big one as I think we [should] be in contention for the manufacturer’s title in the end.
“We’re building up the cars and equipment and it’s getting ready to go.”
While driver lineups have yet to be finalized, Bamber indicated that one car would likely feature one of Porsche’s full-season crews and the other being a Pro-Am entry.
It’s unclear if the Bathurst-winning trio of Matt Campbell, Dennis Olsen and Dirk Werner, who drove for Wright Motorsports in the California 8 Hours, would continue with EBM in those rounds.
Despite the breakthrough victory, Bamber said they still have “a lot to do” to establish themselves as a top-level organization within the GT racing world.
“Just because we won Bathurst doesn’t mean we were good,” he said. “We need to go to Suzuka and be even better than what we were at Bathurst.
“That’s our goal and plan at the moment.”
In addition to Suzuka and Kyalami, Bamber said plans are also being in place to contest the FIA GT World Cup in Macau, a race that the two-time Le Mans winner will drive himself.
The Nov. 14-17 event, however, poses a logistical challenge for the team as it comes the week before Kyalami and the week after the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia round in Shanghai, where EBM is fielding five Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.
Bamber, however, is confident the hectic three-week stretch can be accomplished.
“It will be three sets of equipment, three different parts of the world! It’s all in the planning already at least,” he said.
“Bathurst was a mad, hectic rush because we only had a month to prepare everything.
“But this, we know [time deadlines] so we have a lot of time to prepare everything compared to the last time.”
EBM Targeting Full-Season IGTC Program for 2020
While set to contest three of the five races this year, Bamber has laid out ambitions of mounting a full-season IGTC attack in the globe-trotting championship in 2020.
The Kiwi cited a high level of interest from customers in wanting to drive the so-called ‘bucket list’ events around the world, which are packaged into the SRO Motorsports Group-run title.
“I really want to do a full season of IGTC and the reason for that is because it’s great for customers,” Bamber said.
“If you talk to a customer and say, ‘Why don’t we do a local domestic championship with GT3 and we race in Malaysia and Thailand?’ For the amount of money it costs these days, it’s not that appealing.
“But if you say, ‘Why don’t we go to Bathurst, Laguna Seca, Suzuka, Spa?’
“That’s something to get excited about and that’s someone in their racing life can tick the boxes off in one year, their bucket list of places to go to race.
“That’s why I think that championship is cool.
“All the cars are GT3 so this is something quite unique we have at the moment and I think it’s something that’s getting stronger.”