KIWI Porsche ace Earl Bamber believes he and co-drivers Laurens Vanthoor and Kevin Estre have something to redeem in this year’s Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The trio will partner aboard the #991 Craft-Bamboo Racing run Porsche 911 GT3-R, one of four Porsche entries in Class A this weekend.
Bamber, Vanthoor and Estre return to the Mountain in 2018 with a goal of nothing less than victory, after the Manthey-Racing backed car which they shared last year was forced to retire from the lead of the race early thanks to contact with another car in the opening hours.
“It’s really nice to be able to come down here with Craft-Bamboo this weekend,” said Bamber.
“I started off my Porsche racing career with them in Carrera Cup so it’s nice to be able to come down here and re-ignite that journey and try do Bathurst.
“For me we’ve got something to redeem, we were really strong last year, we were leading but managed to hit a GT4 car, definitely something to redeem there. We were in contention to be on the podium so there’s no reason we couldn’t be again this year.
“It’s also nice to have another three Porsches on the grid as well, another strong car with Pat [Long] and Matty [Matt Campbell] who were on the podium last year, and also the other Black Swan car and there’s some Cup Cars over the place too.
“I think it’s a big Porsche weekend and it’s also great we’ve got the Porsche corner one, so we’re getting a bigger presence. It’s clear that our commitment to motorsport is bigger than ever in GT, so it’s nice that we start one of the biggest races of the year now here in Australia with big presence.”
Bamber admitted he is impressed with the grid at this year’s Australian endurance classic, outlining how tough it will be to claim success amongst a world class field of GT drivers and teams in Sunday’s race – where they will start from 18th after a difficult qualifying.
“In the pit-lane it is crazy, you look up and down and there are so many great cars on the grid,” said Bamber.
“Even some of the Pro-Am cars, even though they’ve got one gentlemen [driver], with the way it works here with the Safety Cars it’s still possible to stay on the lead lap and they will also be in contention. So, there will be so many strong cars, like I said it’s going to be a tough weekend.”
Amusingly, the New Zealander explained that co-driver Vanthoor would be the one taking the infamous ‘start in the dark’ after being decided via a group chat between the three drivers.
“We said months ago that Laurens can start because he has the experience of last year, so he’s the most responsible person that should start in the dark again.
“Actually, Laurens was just the last person to reply in the group chat unfortunately, so me and Kevin said; ‘Laurens’ and he was last to reply so he got the start! I’ll do Qually and the Top 10 Shootout.”
Sunday’s 12 Hour enduro classic sees the green flag at 5:45am local time, with live stream coverage and the channel 7mate broadcast in Australia kicking off at 5:30am local time.
By: Slade Perrins.