Prior to the start of the 2013 season, New Zealander Earl Bamber probably had little thought of competing at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
After a stellar junior career and displays of speed in high powered single seaters in A1 Grand Prix and Superleague Formula, Bamber was living in Asia making a living as a driver coach.
A late invitation to contest the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series led to championship success and an outing in the global Supercup championship. Somebody at Porsche took notice. In 2014 Bamber won the global Porsche Supercup championship, defended his Asian series win and made his TUDOR United SportsCar Championship debut with a podium at Petit Le Mans.
Unsurprisingly, the 24-year-old is a now a factory driver for Porsche and ready for the Rolex 24 at Daytona with Porsche North America.
He was the fastest GTLM man in testing yesterday and repeated the performance this morning in wet/dry conditions at Daytona International Speedway.
“Last year – the first year of Porsche North America returning to America with CORE autosport – it set a very high standard winning Daytona and Sebring, winning the [Tequila Patrón] North American Endurance Cup and the manufacturer championship,” Bamber said.
“Those were quite a few boxes ticked last year so we have a bit to do to try and better what we did last year.”
Bamber is actually making his second start at Daytona, having driven in the GTD class here last year.
The Kiwi is one of two New Zealanders on the Porsche payroll. Countryman Brendon Hartley is also part of the Porsche family driving for its LM P1 team alongside Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard.