Earl Bamber Motorsport could make its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut next year, with the team exploring options in a number of national series featuring GT3 machinery, including the GT Daytona class.
The 2019 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour-winning squad, run by brothers Earl and Will Bamber, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the GT racing scene, with multi-car efforts in various single-make and sports car series across Asia.
However, according to Will Bamber, the current COVID-19 pandemic has made the Malaysian-based team specifically look at a number of domestic championships due to the expected continuation of international travel restrictions heading in 2021.
Bamber, who was based in his native New Zealand since the lockdown, arrived in the U.S. earlier this week and is on-site at Road America this weekend exploring opportunities both for his team and himself as a driver.
“I was teed up to do some racing there but the opportunity came up here,” Bamber told Sportscar365.
“It’s also a good point to to come [visit the U.S.]. I’ve been looking at different single country-based series around the world.
“China GT, Australia GT, for sure are ones we’re looking at as well, but to come over here and have a look at IMSA is very interesting as well.”
When asked about the possibility of a GTD program, Bamber said they’re “looking at everything” at the moment and would largely be a customer-driven decision.
The team currently has three Porsche 911 GT3 Rs and two Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars and was due to contest the entire Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season, including a two-car effort at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, although travel restrictions have placed those plans on hold.
“I think GTD is an interesting topic,” Bamber said. “From a customer side, the guys are really interested in the bigger races, that’s for sure.
“Daytona, Sebring and Petit [Le Mans] are ones that are on the hot list for many customers. But realistically, to race in America is so expensive.”
The 26-year-old Silver-rated driver, who finished third in the highly competitive Porsche Carrera Cup Asia last year, said he’s also using his time in the U.S. to scout for potential rides in IMSA.
Bamber is helping Team Hardpoint this weekend, having previous connections with Rob Ferriol-owned team.
“I’m interested to drive over here. I’m looking for opportunities,” he said.
Additional Programs Aimed to “Diversify” Team
Bamber said any new GT3 program would come in addition to its commitments in Asia, which currently include GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS.
“Given we know where we’re going to be with Asia for the future, it’s given us the chance to look at everything, which is really cool,” he said.
“We haven’t had the chance to catch up on our sleep since we started [the team].
“COVID-19 has probably been the best thing that’s happened to us. It’s given us to take a breath, see what areas we can refine on and other opportunities.
“We have customers secured in Asia so we know what our future holds there.
“Asia is a bit unique. Every single time we race we have a huge amount of travel. The majority of the crew are from areas like the Philippines and Indonesia. They’re fantastic mechanics and are brilliant guys but it’s usually a bit difficult with visas.
“We see the writing on the wall that we need to look at some other areas to potentially diversify.
“You can’t spread things too far but you need to keep all options open.
“We’re just evaluating everything right now and figuring out budgets across all these different series so we can be quick to move on it.”