SEPANG: Winning races is second nature to Earl Bamber, but he is still finding it uncomfortable handling the fame which comes with success.

Bamber, who hails from Wanganui, has been part of the My Qi-Meritus.Mahara driving stable for the past four years, having joined the Malaysian team as a 14-year-old karter.

His recent successes, which include podium finishes in two A1 races and a historic runners-up position in the GP2 Asia Series in China last month, means he is very much in demand with many international sponsors ready to cash in on his talent and good looks to help sell their products.

When met during a recent photo shoot for Qi at the Sepang International Circuit, Bamber said: "I'm quite flattered by all the attention but have to admit it's wearing me out.

"It's so much easier to drive a race car than to stand around for hours on end looking at the cameras. I'm not a natural model and trying to get the right look is pretty hard work.

"I honestly don't know how people can do this for a living. Not only must you smile at the right time, but you got to also stand in awkward positions to make sure you can show off the products fully. I have a new found respect for models."

Bamber, who became the youngest ever driver to finish inside the top three of a GP2 race, has not forgotten his training regime as he gears up for the second leg of this season's GP2 Asia Series in Dubai next month.

"We had a great start to the GP2 season when I finished sixth in my debut race on Saturday and runners-up in the second race On Sunday," said Bamber.

"I have been following my usual training schedules as GP2 is probably the hardest championship I have taken part in. I know I cannot afford to take it easy.

"We are confident of another good showing in Dubai. Despite the glamour of photo shoots and modeling, racing is the most important thing in my life."

The second round of this season's GP2 Asia Series is in Dubai from Dec 4-5.

-credit: my qi-m.m