Reigning Le Mans 24 Hours winner Earl Bamber is keen to push for a Bathurst 1000 co-drive next year.
The New Zealander, currently racing in Porsche’s LMP1 program, has forged a successful career in GT racing and sportscars with two Le Mans 24 Hours titles to his name.
Having raced all over the world, highlighted by successful stints in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Bamber says the Bathurst 1000 remains a vital missing piece of his career.
Bamber’s hopes to contest the Mount Panorama classic have been thwarted by date clashes and the need to secure approval from current employers Porsche, with whom he has a long-term contract.
The 27-year-old revealed he previously had an offer to compete in The Great Race but was forced to turn it down.
Eager to tick off the bucket list race, the Kiwi is hoping the event will be option for him next year.
“I’m always open to a good race, and one thing that’s on my bucket list, and I try to keep convincing Porsche, I want to do is the Bathurst 1000, for sure,” Bamber told Speedcafe.com at Sepang last weekend.
“I wouldn’t look at it to be a main game driver at the moment, but I definitely want to go there as a co-driver and I want to win Bathurst, that’s one of my goals.
“You’ve got to get permission, I actually I managed to negotiate last time that I could do it, and now it’s a matter of date clashes because it always clashes with either Fuji, or if you do the IMSA series, it always clashes with the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
“If there’s no date clash, I can tell you I’ll be on the phone (to teams).
“I’m a big Supercars fan. I watch every race of V8 Supercars, I subscribe to the Superview and tune in.
“I teamed up with Scotty (McLaughlin) at the Bathurst 12 Hour so I follow him closely and also Shane (Van Gisbergen), who I raced in Formula Ford, so I always follow those blokes.”
Bamber has experienced a V8 Supercar when he completed a test in a Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon, raced by Scott McLaughlin in the Dunlop Super2 Series, at Queensland Raceway in 2010.
“It was actually Scotty McLaughlin’s car, the Fujitsu car, but only just for a couple of laps, it was cool,” he added.
However, he admits slotting into a co-driver role at the Bathurst 1000 would present a significant challenge.
“I think the level there is very, very high, and I think I could go alright as a co-driver, against the other co-drivers that don’t drive the cars so often,” he said.
“But the guys at the top there are really on their game.
“I think the other thing that makes it super hard is that it’s not necessarily the level of competition, but the fact you never get to drive the car and the only time you can drive the car is on a race weekend.”
Bamber’s 2018 schedule is yet to be confirmed with ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Porsche’s prototype program.
If the German marque decides to end its LMP1 project, the Kiwi says he is assured of a drive with the manufacturer.
“I’m one of the guys from GT, I was originally a GT driver, so no matter what happens, I’ll be there, so that’s okay,” he added.
“For me, I’ve got a deal for many years with Porsche, so that’s not a problem for me.”