Bamber hoping T8 run will open Supercars doors
Two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Earl Bamber is hoping a run out with Triple Eight in next year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup will lead to regular Supercars co-driver opportunities.
The factory Porsche driver will make his Supercars debut in 2018 when he partners Shane van Gisbergen for the Sandown, Bathurst and Gold Coast races.
Bamber, who won Le Mans and lifted the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship in Porsche’s final LMP1 campaign, has been long pursuing a chance to race the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, having earmarked the race as a bucket list event.
Having secured a coveted drive wth one of the best teams in pit lane the 27-year-old is hoping the drive is not a one-off and the Pirtek Enduro Cup become a regular addition to his schedule.
However, future appearances will largely come down to avoidance of date clashes with his Porsche GT commitments.
“For me it will always depend on the dates,” Bamber told Speedcafe.com.
“My main program is with Porsche so if we can avoid date clashes each year then it is something I’d love to do and I would be keen to come back each year.
“I’m sure the team has the same goal as me which is to try and win the Bathurst 1000 and to win the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
“Doing Le Mans is a nice box to tick and it would be amazing to do that at Bathurst, that is definitely the goal.
“The race is a bit like Le Mans because you can have quick car but that event also needs to let you win it.
“You can go drive there for 10-15 years and not get close, but at the same time you can go there as a rookie and win, but not get close for another 10 years.
“Maybe I will need more than one attempt.”
Bamber will replace fellow factory Porsche driver Matt Campbell as van Gisbergen’s co-driver and admits he will have big shoes to fill.
The Kiwi has never raced a Supercar before with his only taste coming via a test with Stone Brothers Racing in 2010.
Given the challenges of mastering the powerful touring cars, Bamber is eager for any seat time prior to next year’s enduros.
“To be honest I don’t know. They have limited test days each year but if there is any possible moment to be able to drive the thing then I want to be able to do that,” he added.
“Any laps in the car will be hugely valuable so I hope to do as much as I can.
“I will be watching the races from afar but I would like to go to a couple of events to be able to get used to the team before we go into the first race.
“They (the cars) are tricky beasts and one big thing is to learn the tracks as well. It is one thing to learn a new car and another to learn a car and tracks.
“I’ve watched internationals race and when they don’t know the tracks it is really hard for them.”
Bamber is hoping to help his preparations by logging some valuable laps at Mount Panorama courtesy of February’s Bathurst 12 Hour, where he is expected to drive for a customer Porsche entry.