The 2015 endurance year has been particularly stellar for New Zealand thanks to Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley, winners at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 6 Hours of Nürburgring respectively.
The two young New Zealanders got together on the 24 Hours podium in June as major players in Porsche’s one-two at Le Mans: while Earl Bamber celebrated a resounding victory at his very first participation, Brendon Hartley finished second. But his hour of glory would come two and a half months later at the Nürburgring at the fourth round of the 2015 World Endurance Championship.
The third New Zealander to win at Le Mans after the duo Chris Amon-Bruce McLaren in 1966, Bamber came up through the various Porsche cups, while Hartley rose in endurance methodically and efficiently. He was first a major player in the LM P2 class with the Irish team Murphy Prototypes with a win at Le Castellet at the closing round of the 2013 European Le Mans Series. A few weeks later, he was selected by Porsche to drive one of the 919 Hybrids along with Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard. In 2014, the trio gave the new prototype its first podium finish in its first race, at the 6 Hours of Silverstone, before leading at the 24 Hours of Le Mans a few weeks later.
While the famous “All Blacks” will defend their rugby World Cup in September, New Zealand will celebrate another world title in endurance thanks to Brendon Hartley, who will join his fellow countryman Dennis Hulme, crowned in Formula 1 in 1967.