EARL BAMBER -- INSIDE THE HELMET At just 18-years-old, Wanganui Driver Earl Bamber carries the hopes of New Zealand into the opening round of A1GP's Season Four which gets underway this weekend at Zandvoort, The Netherlands. It's been a...
EARL BAMBER -- INSIDE THE HELMET
At just 18-years-old, Wanganui Driver Earl Bamber carries the hopes of New Zealand into the opening round of A1GP's Season Four which gets underway this weekend at Zandvoort, The Netherlands.
It's been a fast rise to the front of the grid for the talented Kiwi driver. Regardless of the result from his A1GP debut, Bamber's talent as a teenager will allow him to represent New Zealand Motorsport with pride for many years to come.
Bamber will line up at Zandvoort this weekend against some of the best drivers from around the globe, so miracles shouldn't be expected despite Bamber's impressive results this year and in his career so far.
To say Bamber's 2008 has been action packed is an understatement. The year to date has seen him compete in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and Europe with considerable success.
Bamber spent the New Zealand summer of 2007-08 contesting the Toyota Racing Series with International Motorsport's A1 Team.NZL Junior Development Team. While Earl just missed out on taking the title overall, his second place finish saw him rack up a massive ten race wins, ten pole positions and five lap records. He also scored overall victory in the International Series that is run as part of the Toyota Racing Series.
A1 Team.NZL Seat Holder Colin Giltrap has backed cars in the Toyota Racing Series since its inception. Bamber's selection to suit up for the 'real deal' A1 Team New Zealand is a justified reward he earned during his time in the 'development' academy for A1 Team New Zealand in the Toyota Racing Series. Indeed of the eight drivers that have driven Black Beauty at some stage, only two of them, Scott Dixon and Jonny Reid, have not competed in the Toyota Racing Series on some occasion.
In addition to his New Zealand competition, Bamber has driven a variety of single seat race cars around the world. He suited up for Meritus Motorsport in the V6 Renault Asia series this year, winning three rounds and setting a new lap record in the process.
Bamber also competed in some of the first races of the 2008 Australian Formula Three championship, until the demise of his team's main sponsor. Despite not continuing the season, the Kiwi teen signalled his early pace by breaking the four-year-old lap record at the Clipsal 500 meeting in Adelaide.
Most outstanding in recent weeks was Bamber's run-away win in the European Formula Master championship which he entered near the end of the season. In just his second race ever in the hotly contested European single seat class, Bamber stole the spotlight at Imola, Italy, as he lead home the field that included a number of far more experienced drivers such as Michael Ammermuller and Fabio Leimer.
Within a relatively short time period this fast paced New Zealand driver has established a winning reputation. In 2006 and at just 16-years-old, Bamber won the Formula BMW Asia championship, which got his win tally off to a flying start. Ten race wins plus nine pole positions added up to his first championship win in a race car, following his go kart career.
By September this year, Bamber had a total of 103 race starts to his name. An impressive number in its own right, but added to by the fact that he won 27 of these races. Such a start-to-win ratio is extremely rare and justifies further the investment of those that have allowed Earl to be where he is today.
Wanganui wouldn't normally be thought of as a motorsport centre. The nearest racetrack is three hours away and there was no go kart track in town for Bamber to cut his teeth on in the early days of his career. This didn't stop him from winning two New Zealand go-kart titles, and gaining selection to represent his country at the Rotax Grand Finals, a competition which brings together national Rotax kart champions from around the world.
The sheer determination of A1 Team New Zealand's youngest ever driver will see his proud town, as well as fans from throughout New Zealand glued to TV3 in the early hours of Monday morning as they follow the progress of this fast rising Kiwi star.
Date of birth: 9 July 1990
Place of birth: Wanganui, New Zealand
Lives: Wanganui, New Zealand
Interests: Running, karting, surfing, all motorsports
2008: Formula V6 Asia
2007/08: A1GP (Rookie)
2008: Formula 3 Australia (selected rounds)
2008: Toyota Racing Series New Zealand, (runner up) (4 round wins)
2008: Toyota Racing Series New Zealand International Championship Winner
2008: Toyota Racing Series Winner 'Lady Wigram Trophy Race'
2007: Toyota Racing Series New Zealand
2007: Formula V6 Asia (selected rounds)
2006: Formula BMW Asia Champion
2005: Formula Ford (NZ)
2005: Rotax World Finals, 3rd place Junior class
2004: 2 time New Zealand Kartsport Champion
-credit: new zealand