Sunday, Dec 10 09:53am
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Porsche confirm Bamber's drives for 2018, including Le Mans return

Earl Bamber is set to return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018, but behind the wheel of a different but familiar Porsche.


The Kiwi is set to drive a Porsche 911 RSR in the GTE-Pro field at the annual 24 Hour race joined by British driver Nick Tandy and Frenchman Patrick Pilet.  


Bamber had three of his drives for 2018 confirmed by Porsche in a raft of announcements overnight at the Porsche Nights of Champions.


Bamber will continue racing in sports car in 2018 with Porsche as the two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner heads back to the United States of America. 


Bamber will race in the IMSA WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship with Porsche North America, the same team he drove for in 2015. 


Porsche confirmed he'll drive with Belgian driver Laurens Vanthoor, who as recently as 2016 was driving full time for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT and Audi Sport factory-backed Phoenix Racing. 


Porsche confirmed two of Bamber's drives for 2018. Alongside his Porsche duties in North America, he'll also head back to Europe to drive in the ADAC Nürburgring 24. Bamber will drive with Vanthoor as well as French duo Kévin Estre and Patrick Pilet in Germany. 


The Nürburgring drive will be run by a Porsche-backed Mathey Racing operation. There are nine Porsche 911 GT3 Rs expected to compete at next year's event. 13 factory drivers and four Porsche Young Professional drivers will race there. 


Whether Bamber will drive in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour has yet to be confirmed. Bamber competed in the annual Southern Hemisphere endurance season opener with a Porsche-backed Walkinshaw GT3 outfit alongside Vanthoor and Estre earlier this year. 


The Porsche Night of Champions saw several key announcements. Bamber's former World Endurance Championship winning teammate Timo Bernhard will return to the ADAC GT Masters with his own TEAM 75 BERNHARD outfit alongside Kevin Estre.