- July 09, 1990
- New Zealand
- Imsa Sportscar Championship
- Porsche Team
Earl Bamber is a racing driver from New Zealand. He is a double Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion and the winner of the 2014 Porsche Supercup, but his biggest success were two wins at the 24 hours of Le Mans, in 2015 and 2017, and FIA World Endurance Championship title in 2017. Most recently, in 2019, Bamber has won IMSA SportsCar Championship title in the GTLM class.
First time, he won Le Mans race together with Nick Tandy and Nico Hulkenberg in the factory-entered Porsche 919 Hybrid prototype. The second Le Mans win came in 2017, along with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, again in a Porsche 919 Hybrid.
Racing debut at the age of 12
Earl Anderson Bamber was born on July 9, 1990, at Wanganui, on North Island of New Zealand. He started racing early, at the age of 12, entering the karting championship of North Island. He won his first title in the debut season, progressing to the national Junior class championship title in 2004. At the world's Grand Final in Portugal, he finished third.
15-year-old Earl switched to Formula Ford
In 2005, Earl switched to the Formula Ford Championship, competing both in the the New Zealand Championship and South Island Championship. In 2006, the 16-year-old Earl entered Formula BMW Asia and won the title, taking ten wins in 19 races. One of his rivals was Daniel Ricciardo, who finished third in the points.
Racing across New Zealand, Australia and Asia
Back at New Zealand, Bamber competed in the 2006-2007 season of the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand, finishing in the seventh place. In 2007, Earl continued to race in the single-seater category, entering the Asian Formula Renault V6.
In 2008, Bamber returned both in the Formula Renault and Toyota Racing Series, finishing as a runner-up in both competitions. He also had one-off appearances in some other series, such as Australian Formula 3 and International Formula Master.
Bamber was a member of A1 GP Team New Zealand
Between October 2008 and May 2009, Bamber raced for Team New Zealand in the A1 Grand Prix Series, scoring podiums at Zandvoort and Sepang. The other driver for Team New Zealand was Chris van der Drift and they finished 7th in the classification of 21 teams. In the same period, Bamber participated in three rounds of the GP2 Asia Series, driving for Qi-Meritus Mahara team.
Runner-up in the Toyota Racing Series
Through the 2009 season, Bamber participated part-time in the International Formula Master and Euroseries 3000, but without notable results. The next success followed in the 2010 Toyota Racing Series New Zealand, in which he finished second, just three points behind Mitch Evans. He was also one of the contestants in the 2010 Superleague Formula, finishing seventh in the points.
First races with Porsche in 2010
At the end of the 2010 season, Bamber entered his first competition with Porsche. It was the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge New Zealand. In three races, Bamber took two podiums. In 2011, Bamber slowed down his activities with open-wheel race cars, participating in just a few races of the Toyota Series and Superleague Formula. Similar situation was repeated in 2012, with just a few races in the JK Racing Asia Series.
Bamber was Carrera Cup Asia winner in his rookie season
The milestone moment in his career followed in 2013, when he entered the full season of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, driving for the Malaysian team Nexus Racing. With six wins in 12 races, in an exciting title fight against Martin Ragginger, Bamber took the title which determined his future.
Porsche gave him scholarship for the Supercup
As the Asian Carrera Cup champion, he participated in the Porsche Motorsport's shootout for the scholarship at Oschersleben. He was the most successful of all contestants and he received funding of 200,000 Euros for the Porsche Supercup campaign next year. During 2013, Bamber already participated in three races of the Porsche Supercup as a guest, at Hungaroring and Yas Marina Circuit (two races). He shined at Yas Marina Circuit, taking pole position and finishing second in the first race.
Some other notable results in 2013 were the class B victory at the Bathurst 12 Hour race, victory at the Porsche Carrera Cup race at Macau Grand Prix and victory as a guest driver in the Audi R8 LMS Cup China.
Three Porsche series in one year
In 2014, Bamber had a simultaneous program in three Porsche series – Porsche Supercup, Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. But, before that, he participated in three endurance races from January to March – 24 hours of Daytona, 12 hours of Sebring and Bathurst 12 Hour. At Daytona and Sebring, he wasn't successful; at Bathurst, he took Class B victory, driving the Porsche 997 GT3 Cup alongside Ben Barker and Stephen Grove.
Of three Porsche competitions in 2014, Bamber has won two titles. He repeated the triumph in the Asian Carrera Cup, driving for LKM Racing. He won eight of ten races, dominantly taking the back-to-back title ahead of Martin Ragginger.
First rookie to win the Porsche Supercup
In the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, driving for Fach Auto Tech, Bamber became the first rookie to clinch the title. He scored two wins and seven podiums, to win the title ahead of Kuba Giermaziak. In the German Porsche Carrera Cup, Bamber entered ten of eighteen races, scoring two wins and five podiums. He was second in the points, but he missed the second part of the season and finished seventh in the points.
In October 2014, Bamber traveled one more time to America to replace the injured Richard Lietz at the Petit Le Mans race, driving the #912 Porsche 911 RSR for Porsche North America, alongside works drivers Patrick Long and Michael Christensen. They were second in the GTLM class and Porsche secured the manufacturers' title.
Bamber joined the Porsche factory team in 2015
For the 2015 season, Bamber was signed as Porsche factory driver. The season again started in America, with races at Daytona and Sebring. The #912 Porsche was far from the podium.
In May, Bamber raced for the first time with Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 prototype, in the second round of the World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps. Bamber finished in the 6th place, sharing the #19 car with Nico Hulkenberg and Nick Tandy.
Le Mans victory in debut participation
The race was some kind of a preparation for the Le Mans race because Porsche was planning a three-car entry for the world's famous endurance race. The drivers in the #17 and #18 cars were the regular FIA WEC drivers while the #19 car would be driven by Le Mans rookies (Bamber and Hulkenberg) plus Tandy, who had no experience with the LMP1 prototype.
And then, the sensation happened – the #19 car won the race. Bamber, Tandy and Hulkenberg scored the historic 17th overall victory for Porsche, seventeen years after Porsche's last win in 1998. The #19 car crossed the finish line a lap ahead of the sister #17 car, driven by Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley.
Two seasons with Porsche in America
Later in the season, Bamber participated in three more races of the World Endurance Championship, driving for Abu Dhabi – Proton Racing in the GTE Am class. He finished second at Circuit of the Americas, sharing the #88 Porsche 911 RSR with Christian Ried and Khaled al Qubaisi. At the American ground, Bamber competed the full season in the 2015 IMSA United SportsCar Championship, driving for Porsche North America. With three podiums in ten races, he finished tenth in the points.
The #912 Porsche remained Bamber's main working place in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. He scored three podiums at the start of the season (Daytona, Sebring, Laguna Seca). The first and only win came in the season-closing Petit Le Mans. At the end of the season, Bamber was 4th in the GTLM standings.
Bamber also returned to the Bathurst 12 Hour race, to take one more Class B victory, alongside Stephen Grove and Scott McLaughlin.
Le Mans win and FIA WEC title in 2017
For the 2017 FIA WEC season, following Mark Webber's retirement from racing, Earl Bamber was recruited to drive the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid full time, along with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley. After finishing on a podium at Silverstone and Spa, a trio Hartley/Bamber/Bernhard scored a victory at Le Mans 24 hours race. In a dramatic race, after spending more than an hour in the pits because of broken front axle, the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid scored the 19th victory for Porsche in the world's greatest endurance race.
Later in the season, they scored three more wins (Nurburgring, Mexico, COTA) to secure the FIA WEC championship title even before the season's finale.
Focusing on the IMSA SportsCar Championship since 2018
In 2018, Porsche LMP Team left the World Endurance Championship so Bamber's main job is to drive the #912 Porsche 911 RSR in the GTLM class of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, with Laurens Vanthoor as his co-driver. They were on a podium at Sebring and won at Mid-Ohio, finishing the season in the fifth place.
In the FIA WEC, Tander joined Porsche GT Team at Le Mans 24 Hours, finishing tenth in GTE Pro class. He participated also in other GT endurance races, such are 24h Nurburgring or Bathurst 12 Hour.
IMSA GTLM champion in 2019
In 2019, Bamber stayed in the IMSA Championship, starting a season with the third-place finish at Daytona 24 Hours. He and Laurens Vanthoor scored three wins over the season in the #912 Porsche 911 RSR, winning the championship title in the GTLM class in front of their teammates in the #911 car.
Outside North American championship, he raced at Le Mans and finished 3rd in GT class. He was also second at Nurburgring 24 Hours.