Everyone has days and moments in their life they will never forgot. In the professional life of a race driver those days and moments usually involve a podium. For Porsche factory driver Earl Bamber that day was June 14th, 2015, and the moment was the award ceremony after the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Standing on the podium high above pit lane, alongside his teammates Nick Tandy and Nico Hülkenberg, after just winning the world’s most famous endurance race in the Porsche 919 Hybrid, Earl Bamber reveled in the moment and cheering of the fans.
“It was overwhelming to hold this trophy in my hands and be cheered by so many people,” says the 24-year-old New Zealander. “When you dream of winning Le Mans that would normally be about the time you wake up. But this dream continues in real life.”
The sensational victory on the Circuit des 24 Heures marks the pinnacle of his young and meteoric career from Porsche Junior to works driver and celebrated Le Mans winner – all in just over a year.
Earl Bamber’s career began in karting in 2004
Earl Bamber is no stranger to success. But thanks to Porsche’s support and his racing campaigns in Porsche’s brand trophy series, his career, which began in karting in 2004, got a significant boost. The first critical step was beating all other competitors from the worldwide make cups to win the junior selection shootout. In a comprehensive selection process, the eight candidates had to not only turn fast laps but also demonstrate their technical understanding and analytical skills in setting up the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. And no one did this better than the newly-crowned winner of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia from Down Under.
A Chance To Prove Himself
As a reward, Porsche gave him 200,000 Euros and the chance to prove himself in the international Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup for the 2014 season. And prove himself he did. Bamber won the season-opener on the Circuit de Catalunya on the outskirts of Barcelona as a Porsche Junior, and collected victory number two on the demanding Ardennes circuit of Spa-Francorchamps.
Those two victories, combined with fast and reliable performance through the rest of the series, saw him crowned Supercup champion. Not stopping there, he scored eight victories and ten podium spots in the Carrera Cup Asia taking the title for the second time. As if all that weren't enough, he added two race wins in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland to his resume that season. His wins did not go unnoticed. Bamber finished off his season in the cockpit of a Porsche 911 RSR for the first time at Petit Le Mans and promptly added a second place finish to his season's achievements.
“Receiving backing from Porsche was the chance of a lifetime as a race driver,” says Earl Bamber, who lives in Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia, recalling his first phenomenal season with Porsche. “Right from the start I felt I was in good hands and that gave me a lot of confidence. I’ve met some really terrific people and as a race driver I’ve reached a whole new level in every respect.”
The Pace Continued
In 2015, Bamber was signed on as a Porsche factory driver and, after successful tests in the Porsche 919 Hybrid, was added to the roster of pilots in the LMP1 program. After Spa-Francorchamps, Le Mans was only his 2nd in the premier class of endurance sport racing. Earl wasn't fazed in the least: he confidently mastered the most extreme situations as if he had spent his whole life preparing for this one race.
After his Le Mans victory, Earl Bamber joins with teammate Nick Tandy on June 28th to contest the Watkins Glen round of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship.