New Zealander Earl Bamber joined the Porsche team in 2014 after winning the Porsche Supercup and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championships. An early open-wheel career dovetailed into tin tops, where he absolutely killed it. Porsche took a winger on the kid at Petit Le Mans in 2014 taking over for an injured Richard Lietz in the factory Porsche Motorsport North America 911 RSR with Patrick Long and Michael Christensen. In his very first start with the factory Porsche team they finished second at the checkered flag, securing Porsche’s IMSA manufacturer’s title. Giving him another winger, Porsche entered a third 919 Hybrid LMP1 car at Spa and Le Mans for the 2015 season, and decided to put Bamber in the car with Nico Hulkenberg and Nick Tandy. As luck would have it, they secured Porsche’s first Le Mans overall victory since 1998 (pictured above).
Since that totally amazing Le Mans victory in 2015, Bamber has helped Porsche win at Le Mans again in 2017 en route to an FIA WEC world championship title season. When Porsche ended its LMP1 efforts that season, Bamber was moved over to the 911 RSR program again, where he continued to be a total badass. Pairing with Laurens Vanthoor, the other half of what would become dubbed the BAMTHOR pairing, helped deliver Porsche a six-win IMSA GTLM season, and the championship that year. With Porsche departing IMSA as a factory effort, however, Bamber has had few opportunities to shine with the Porsche brand. He raced with WeatherTech Racing at Le Mans, and Hardpoint in IMSA GTD at Daytona and Sebring, but he’s little more than a hired gun these days, and is apparently looking for something more.
On Tuesday it was announced that Bamber would be an anchor team member of the Chip Ganassi Racing team, as it would be adding a second Cadillac DPI-V.R prototype to its repertoire in 2022. Fighting for overall wins in IMSA is much preferred to being Porsche’s pass-around to wealthy teams needing a third for endurance rounds. Bamber will join the team with the likes of Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais, and Alex Lynn, all stars in their own right.
“I am incredibly excited and honoured to join Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing for 2022,” said Bamber. “When you talk about legendary sports car racing teams you think of CGR. They’ve already won their class at Le Mans. It’s a world-class team and it is amazing to see what they’ve done in their first year with the Cadillac DPi-V.R. I am also excited to race in the top class of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship.
“I don’t know who my direct teammate will be, but the lineup that the team has put together is awesome and world-class. Renger is a Daytona and championship winner already. Sebastien is someone I’ve looked up to as a kid when he was in Champ Car and IndyCar. Alex with his Formula E and sports car experience is fast as well. We have a nice mix of talent from different racing series.
“My personal hope is to win at Daytona. It has eluded me for many years as I have finished on the podium multiple times. I would also love to win some of the other highlight races and the team and drivers’ championship.”
It’s a shame that this signing has happened, because Porsche will be joining the IMSA and FIA WEC grid in 2023 with a brand new Penske Racing-developed LMDh hybrid prototype, and certainly could have used Bamber’s talents to return to winning form at Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring, and more. While we wish Bamber the best in his future endeavors, and thank him for his incredible winning ways in the Porsche squad over the last seven seasons, we’re bummed to see the once-legendary Porsche factory effort getting split up. It was bad enough that General Motors hired away Nick Tandy to drive *spits* Corvettes, now this?