Earl Bamber is the sole Kiwi on a disappointing 12-car entry list field for this weekend’s Intercontinental GT Challenge finale in Kyalami.
Bamber will team up with IMSA title-winning co-driver Laurens Vanthoor and 2018-19 FIA World Endurance GT champion Kevin Estre for the title-deciding nine-hour round.
The trio are sharing the Dinamic Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R, with Bamber and Vanthoor holding a mere one-point lead in the standings over their fellow Porsche drivers Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet and Patrick Pilet.
Bamber opened his 2020 IGTC season with a ninth-place finish in the Bathurst 12 Hour alongside Vanthoor and three-time Supercars champion Craig Lowndes.
The points-leading duo then secured top honours in the rain-affected Spa 24 Hour race. This time with Nick Tandy taking over the third driver role.
Estre now becomes the third different co-driver for Bamber and Vanthoor this season. The French driver has made one IGTC start this year, finishing 13th overall at Spa.
Bamber is no stranger to the Dinamic Motorsport team. The Italian outfit only graduated to global GT3 racing in last year, fielding Bamber, Vathoor and Campbell in the Kyalami 9-hour endurance event.
That year saw the trio finish eighth on the road and were the third Porsche home.
As previously reported, Bentley M-Sport has announced that after the Kyalami race they would be pulling the plug on their factory GT3 programme. It’s leading line-up for the race consists of its Bathurst 12 Hour winning-combo Jordan Pepper, Maxime Soulet and Jules Gounon.
Nine drivers from the dozen crews are within a shot of the driver’s title over the weekend. Porsche also holds a 33-point edge in the manufacturers’ championship.
Only Audi and BMW can mathematically steal away the title. However, both require at least one of their cars to win and another to finish on the podium to have a realistic shot at toppling Porsche.
The task becomes significantly more challenging with manufacturers only able to score IGTC points from its two highest-placed finishers.
BMW has chosen to only field a pair of M6s while Audi has four R8s confirmed for the race, though one of which is entered in the Silver Cup class.