Bamber: Porsche enthusiasts make Rennsport special

September 24, 2018

Bamber: Porsche enthusiasts make Rennsport special

September 24, 2018

At Porsche Rennsport Reunion V in 2015, Earl Bamber was newly minted as a Porsche works driver.

The New Zealander had enjoyed a meteoric rise, having starred with Nick Tandy and Nico Hulkenberg to score the 24 Hours of Le Mans win.

The Porsche 919 Hybrid was on target to win Le Mans eventually. However, few expected its trio of LMP1 rookies in its third car to be the one that delivered the victory.

That was his racing highlight of that year. But what followed in September at Rennsport in Monterey further developed Bamber’s love and appreciation for Porsche.

While Bamber had been to a similar event in Australia in 2013, he hadn’t been to one in North America yet. So after coming in with eyes wide open, Bamber was floored and awed by what he saw back then.

“It’s absolutely amazing to see the Porsche enthusiasts there,” Bamber said. “I think we have the best customers in the world. People that own Porsches don’t just want to see them in the garage. They want to go out and drive them.

“It’s what the festival is all about. There’s race cars, road cars, and people want to go out on the track and drive them around.”

The evolution of the 919, the 919 Hybrid Evo, will be on site at this year’s Rennsport. Bamber will have the opportunity to drive it. He’s won twice at Le Mans with the race version and now will have the chance to sample the 919 Evo in Monterey.

This car features a number of aerodynamic enhancements and specially developed Michelin tires, which have allowed for unofficial record runs at both Spa-Francorchamps and the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

Bamber remains incredibly thankful for his chances.

“To be honest, I’ve been very fortunate to drive their cars,” he said. “Going to Le Mans with Porsche, you’re with the most successful manufacturer ever. The biggest challenge is actually to get inside the car and give yourself the best shot of winning!

“I’m very lucky to be able to drive the 919, win a (FIA World Endurance) championship, and also race GT cars in America. I’ve ticked a lot of boxes so far, but there’s a lot more to tick! It’ll be something special to see all those cars here. There’s a lot of emotions and a lot of things to celebrate.”

Bamber also cautioned his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teammate, Laurens Vanthoor, to be on his toes for his first Rennsport as a Porsche works driver. The reasoning? Porsche enthusiasts are almost too smart.

“I mean the people that are driving the Porsches love racing. They go all about the country.

“You’ve got these people that love these races and cars… and they actually know more about the history than we do sometimes!

“We have to be on our toes sometimes.

“There’s a passion they have for Porsche that is so good to have.”

Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI is September 27-30 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey.

Bamber and Vanthoor finished second in the GT Le Mans class of the IMSA race here earlier this month.

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