Porsche confirms star drivers

Porsche 911 GT3 R, Manthey Racing No 911 : Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet

PORSCHE Motorsport has confirmed three star drivers to lead Walkinshaw GT3s attack on the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

Kiwi talent and LeMans 24 Hour winner Earl Bamber, Frenchman Kevin Estre and recent signing Laurens Vanthoor – who moved to Porsche from Audi in the off season – will drive the lead Walkinshaw Porsche in the February 3-5 event.

Bamber, 26, is a two-time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion, won the Porsche Supercup in 2014 and shared a Porsche 918 Hybrid LMP1 car to victory on his debut in the LeMans 24 Hour, sharing with Nico Hulkenburg and Nick Tandy.

The Kiwi has also twice won his class in the 12-hour, winning class B with Grove Racing in 2014 and 2016

Frenchman Estre is also a former one-make Porsche champion, winning both the French and German Carrera Cup titles, and has raced for the brand in the World Endurance Championship, Pirelli World Challenge and Blancpain Endurance Series.

Vanthoor is one of the hottest talents in global GT racing at present, having already won the Blancpain Endurance Series, the FIA GT Series and last year’s inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge.

The Belgian driver has also already made his mark on the Bathurst 12 Hour, remarkably hauling his Audi into contention throughout the 2016 event weekend. He narrowly missed out on victory in the 2015 event, his Audi finishing second to the winning Nissan.

The 911 GT3 R was designed by Porsche for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car. The vehicle is characterised by uncompromising lightweight design, better aerodynamic efficiency, lower fuel consumption and improved driveability.

Already in its 2016 maiden season, the 911 GT3 R celebrated many successes in international racing series, for example in the IMSA SportsCar Championship, the World Challenge, the ADAC GT Masters as well as the VLN Long Distance Championship Nürburgring on the demanding Nordschleife.

The team is yet to confirm the drivers for the second car.