Bamber: ‘really, really special’ to race with Lowndes
Earl Bamber has labelled the addition of Craig Lowndes to last year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winning team as ‘something really, really special’.
Last year, Earl Bamber Motorsport claimed outright honours, but for 2020 features an all-new driver line-up.
That includes Bamber and his IMSA SportsCar Championship co-driver Laurens Vanthoor, and Lowndes.
“The addition of Craig is just awesome, to be honest,” Bamber told Speedcafe.com.
“If I put on my team owner hat, if you ever said, ‘Okay, you’re going to have Craig Lowndes drive for your team’, it’s such a… We’re still in our infancy really.
“It’s something really, really special and awesome to have him in the car. He’s enthusiastic, he’s keen, he’s put a lot of knowledge and a lot of info to the team as well.”
His outing with Earl Bamber Motorsport will see Lowndes in direct competition with Triple Eight, which is fielding a #888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Jamie Whincup, Shane van Gisbergen, and Maximilian Gotz.
“It’s 15 years since I’ve had to race against Triple Eight, and Jamie and Shane, so it will be different to obviously to go into a race knowing that,” Lowndes told Speedcafe.com.
“Plus, not carrying the Triple Eight number is also a bit foreign for me.
“It’s a different world, but I keep winding Roland, Jamie, and Shane up that I’m thankful that they’ll be on the second step and see where we end up.”
While Lowndes has won the 12 Hour three times (twice outright and a class win in 1994), along with seven successes in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, neither Bamber nor Vanthoor have tasted success on the Mountain.
“For me, we’ve never won the race here as a driver,” Bamber said.
“So to be able to come back and obviously as a team won it last year, then we’ve got the goods to do it, same for Laurens. He’s also hasn’t won the race.
“We’ve come close both of us a few times, so we’re really hungry to do it.”
The trio head into the race among the fan favourites, though Bamber suggests the field is too open to apply the tag to anyone.
“I think the strength of the field and the depth of the field this year, I think no one would really count themselves as a favourite.
“It’s going to be a really, really tough race. I think what it’s going to come down to is making the least mistakes. It’s going to come down to track position and it’s going to come down to endurance and how hot it’s going to be on Sunday as well.
“It’s going to be a real test of everyone; driver, machine and crew as well. So from that side it’s going to be a really tough race.”
“The quality of the field is something that’s top notch and I think it’s also a testament to everyone here at the Bathurst 12 Hour,” he added.
“They’ve made a world class event of it and it’s a race that everyone wants to come to. It’s also awesome just to see the fans that come out as well.
“The amount of fans that come out here and want to see the drivers and support the races is awesome.
“It shows that the event, that the race is growing as well. So it’s really cool for the drivers and teams.”
Earl Bamber Motorsport will field a second car, set to be driven by David Calvert-Jones, Jaxon Evans, and Romain Dumas.
Opening practice for this year’s event begins at 08:40 local time/AEDT this morning, the session for drivers excluding Class A Platinum and Gold rated drivers, with Practice 2 from 09:15 open to all entries.