Will Bamber has started off another Porsche Carrera Cup Asia campaign in style at Shanghai International Circuit.
Now running under the Team Porsche New Zealand moniker, Bamber led from lap one to the checkered flag in the Formula 1 World Championship support race at the Chinese Grand Prix.
A strong start from the front row saw Bamber hug the inside into Turn 1 while pole sitter Martin Ragginger and several others tried to swing around the outside. Fortunately, the Kiwi managed to hold the ideal line and with it took the lead.
Bamber sustained pressure from Ragginger and fellow countryman Chris van der Drift in the early stages as well as a safety car intermission, ultiamtely able to survive and win the 12-lap race.
“It’s the perfect way to start for our new Team Porsche New Zealand,” Bamber said.
“I’m stoked for the entire team at Earl Bamber Motorsport. We’ve been working really hard after official testing, coming in here, a lot of work as a team.
“I’m stoked to give them the victory. It’s the perfect start to the season for us, very different to last year so hopefully we can keep the momentum and keep building from here.”
The win comes just hours after older brother Earl Bamber managed to win the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship race at the Grand Prix of Long Beach alongside Laurens Vanthoor for Porsche.
For Bamber, it was a perfect start to the season, one that sees him net 20 points and the lead in the Carrera Cup Asia Dealership Trophy.
“The race went according to plan,” Bamber said.
“I wanted to stick tight to Turn 1. I had a nice clear shot from P2 down to the inside. Everyone fired in down the outside and went in a bit wide so that gave me a nice opportunity to tuck in on the inside and get P1.
“It was a tight first few laps. Our car was coming on a little later in the race, so I had to hold on for the first few and then started to get to work.
“The first two laps were really, really tricky. Our car was still coming on and their cars were really strong,” he said of the battle with Ragginger and van der Drift.
“I was sort of bunching up the pack and making it super tight. After I got one or two car lengths I could keep my eyes forward and do my own thing.”
Chris van der Drift nearly made his way onto the podium, but the defending three-time champion was overtaken late in the piece by Phillip Hamprecht.
The second round of the series takes place at Suzuka Circuit as part of the Autobacs SUPER GT Series support card over May 24-26.
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Standings (top 10)
4Chris van der Drift14
6Daniel Lu Wenlong10
7Tanart Sathienthirakul 9