The 14th June 2015 is a day Earl Bamber will probably never forget. Together with its teammates Nick Tandy and Nico Hülkenberg, the New Zealander won the most famous endurance race in the world – the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe saw the young Kiwi’s name go down in history, alongside endurance racing giants such as Derek Bell, Jacky Ickx and Tom Kristensen. As someone who was racing in the Porsche Carrera Cup in 2014, it’s been an incredible twelve months.
“It was an overwhelming feeling to hold that trophy in my hands and celebrate in front of so many people,” said the 24-year-old. “When you dream about winning Le Mans, that’s normally the point at which you wake up. But this dream has continued in real life.”
Earl Bamber has always been hotly tipped as a racing driver. But his promotion into the Porsche driver programme gave his racing career, which began in 2004, a real kick. In driver tests, the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion outperformed a wealth of other racing driver talent. His reward? Funding from Porsche worth some €200,000 to continue his career. Bamber switched to the international Porsche Supercup and immediately kicked up a storm, winning on his debut in Barcelona. He took home another title, the 2014 Porsche Supercup drivers’ championship, after an outstanding season. The Kiwi also enjoyed continued success in the Carrera Cup Asia, winning eight races and securing a total of ten podiums, enough for his second Asian title. As if that wasn’t enough, Bamber also won twice in the Porsche Cup Germany and finished second in the GTLM class in Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Earl Bamber continued this meteoric rise in 2015. He became a Porsche works driver and was given a seat on the factory LMP1 programme following a number of tests in the new Porsche 919 Hybrid. The 24 Hours of Le Mans was only Bamber’s second LMP1 race, but the Kiwi mastered the challenge with aplomb. The “rookie Porsche” barely put a foot wrong in the entire 24 hours, taking a comfortable victory ahead of the Audis and Toyotas.
“Promotion at Porsche was the chance of my racing career,” says Bamber looking back. “I felt like I was in good hands right from day one. That gave me a lot of confidence. I have met some brilliant people and reached new levels in every regard as a racing driver.”
The New Zealander’s career has been an almost unrivalled story of success so far. It will be very interesting to see where the freshly crowned Le Mans winner will go next.
Sources: Porsche press release