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Macau Grand Prix 2016

Former Guia Circuit master Earl Bamber back for more ahead of Macau GT Cup - FIA GT World Cup

The New Zealander landed the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in 2013 after beating nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 November, 2016, 5:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 14 November, 2016, 11:08pm

Earl Bamber couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to racing Macau-style.

Back in 2013 the New Zealander came to the Guia Circuit to race in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, which he duly won, leaving none other than nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb in his wake as he captured both the race and the series.

Three more race weekends have come and gone without Bamber adding to that success, but the 26-year-old has nonetheless continues to build a reputation as one of Asia’s rising stars.

“I was very proud to beat Sebastien Loeb, who was one of my heroes,” Bamber said ahead of the SJM Macau GT Cup - FIA GT World Cup this weekend.

“After that I did the GT race for the last few years. It has always been very challenging. I am still hunting my first podium or even victory at the GT World Cup. I am very hungry for this.

“We have a strong driver lineup with good track experience and Manthey Racing, which is one of the best Porsche teams in the world.”

Perfect day for Bamber as he holds off Loeb

Bamber will be joined by Kevin Estre for Manthey this year, racing the Porsche 911 GT3R the Frenchman drove to victory four times in this year’s German GT Masters.

He’s coming off a season that unfortunately didn’t include a repeat performance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans - an event Bamber had famously won in 2015, driving alongside Nico Hulkenberg and Nick Tandy - as Porsche decided not to enter a third car for the 2016 edition of the top P1 class.

But he was there in the GTE class, and Bamber has racked up a win at the Bathhurst 12 Hour in Australia which was his second, as well as podium finishes in North America’s ultra-competitive WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The two-time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion in 2013-14 and 2014 Porsche Supercup winner has, alongside Tandy, been mentioned as a replacement for the retiring Mark Webber in Porsche’s LMP1 roster for the 2017 World Endurance Championship season.

All Blacks’ win inspires Earl Bamber to extend his success this year in touring cars at the Macau Grand Prix

While rumours are that Tandy has been given the nod, nothing has been made official, and Bamber’s focus is set on the weekend ahead.

“The grid looks very, very strong this year,” said Bamber. “It’s my fourth time competing on this track and the first time ever we are bringing a factory team to Macau.

“Audi, Ferrari, Mercedes, Lamborghini - these are the strongest competitors you could imagine. But it’s all people we have raced against in the past and we beat in the past. So it’s all about preparation.

“We have been working hard in Weissach and Meuspath in Germany to prepare the cars for this unique race.

“We must hope that we have a good run in qualifying. This is the key. I am sure it will be a great weekend.”