New Zealand-born Porsche factory driver Earl Bamber has been inducted into the MotorSport New Zealand Wall of Fame.
The induction was announced by MotorSport New Zealand President Wayne Christie and President d’Honneur Morrie Chandler during MotorSport NZ’s annual awards night held at Wellington’s TSB Arena on Saturday 26 May.
The MotorSport NZ Wall of Fame was established in 1994 and is located in MotorSport House as a permanent reminder of the achievements of past and present members who, through their endeavours, have been instrumental in showcasing New Zealand’s motorsport achievements to the world at large.
Christie says: “Our Wall of Fame is a very special way to recognise our sport’s elite competitors and the valued behind-the-scenes participants such as race engineers and administrators who have contributed in a significant way to New Zealand motorsport and New Zealand’s profile in world motor sports.
“I’m delighted to welcome Earl Bamber to this unique group of New Zealanders who continue to show the world that we produce an extraordinarily talented pool of race car drivers in this country. I look forward to seeing where Earl’s stellar career takes him next, particularly with this year’s exciting step of creating his own race team. We’ll be following Earl Bamber Motorsport as the new team contests the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, with younger brother Will at the wheel of one of the team’s three Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.”
The Wall of Fame inscription for 27-year-old Bamber, originally from Whanganui, reads: “Earl Bamber has carved himself a place in New Zealand and more recently international motor racing history.
“In 2016, Earl joined with Porsche team-mates Nico Hulkenberg and Nick Tandy to win the legendary 24-Hours of Le Mans endurance race in a factory Porsche 919. He was the first New Zealander to win the race since Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme in 1966. Two years later Earl won the race again, this time with friend and fellow Kiwi Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.
“Born and raised on a farm at Jerusalem near Wanganui, Earl took a traditional path into motorsport, progressing up through karting to full sized single seaters.
“He won his first karting title aged 12, at the 2002 North Island Sprint Championships (Junior 100cc Yamaha Restricted). In 2004 he won his first national title (Junior ICA) at the 2004 Sprint Kart Championship meeting in Auckland, won the Rotax Max Challenge New Zealand – Junior class and later that year secured a podium at the Rotax Max category’s annual Grand Final in Portugal.
“Aged 15 Earl switched to the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship, then spent two years racing in Asia which culminated with victory in Formula BMW Asia title. Despite budget constraints he also achieved pole positions, fastest laps and podium results in Formula Renault V6 and Australian Formula 3 in the same period.
“In 2008 Earl was runner-up in Formula Renault V6 Asia and the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand. During the latter championship he became the youngest New Zealander to ever win the Lady Wigram Trophy and also took out the Hamilton 400 trophy.
“Acknowledged as one of this country’s most versatile drivers, Earl contested several rounds of the international A1 Grand Prix series for the New Zealand team in 2009, finishing on the podium three times. He also stood on the podium in GP2 Asia at the age of 19. In 2010 he repeated his 2008 success and was again crowned runner-up in the New Zealand Toyota Racing Series.
“Back in Asia, over the next three years, Earl won the Porsche Carrera Cup twice and Porsche SuperCup once.
“In 2017, again racing for Porsche, Earl ran with Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard to win the FIA World Endurance Cup.
“Earl proudly carries the silver fern as part of his helmet design, a reminder to the world that he is at the vanguard of a spectacular resurgence of New Zealand motorsport.”
Bamber joins other luminaries of New Zealand motorsport on the Wall of Fame including Chris Amon, Possum Bourne, Howden Ganley, Hayden Paddon, Greg Murphy and Brendon Hartley.