Earl Bamber Motorsport have confirmed their withdrawal from the Total 24 Hours of Spa in October amid travel restrictions keeping the Malaysian-based outfit grounded.
EBM was slated to field a two-car Porsche 911 GT3 team for the coveted endurance race which had its traditional July date postponed as the Covid-19 pandemic put global motorsport on hold.
The team was also set to run a full-fledged Intercontinental GT Championship entry though those plans have also been shelved.
“We had two cars lined up for Spa as part of our ongoing full-season IGTC entry,” team co-owner Will Bamber told Sportscar365. “A second car came about through some personal contacts in Asia.
“We had a supply agreement for that car, which pulled out about a month ago. A lot of the drivers were based in Hong Kong, which was difficult.
“Unfortunately, given the restrictions now, especially Australia becoming really strict, some key people within our team [could not travel].
“They could probably come but they would have to quarantine for two weeks, and now with how the borders are working, potentially far longer. They would actually miss even more work.
“We’ve had to make the decision to withdraw for this year because of the situation.”
Alongside the unfeasible travel arrangements for a team sprawled across Asia and Australasia, Bamber conceded the pandemic has caused a logistical nightmare which has also seen their entire IGTC plans sidelined.
A glimmer of hope remains that the team can make it on the grid for the Kyalami 9-Hour race on December 10-12 which will conclude the truncated season, though nothing has been set in stone.
“We have a signed driver for Kyalami and we’re just working on that again,” Bamber added.
“As soon as I spoke to the primary customer who wanted to do Spa, the discussion was, ‘OK, change the simulator over to Kyalami and start practicing there and let’s finalize the budget for next year.’
“But it’s a very difficult game, this international motorsport right now.”
Fellow team owner Earl Bamber did suggest there is a possibility he could still be on the grid in Spa, albeit with a different team, as the race does not clash with his IMSA WeatherTech Championship commitments.
There are currently no strictly enforced border measures taken by the Belgian governmental for people travelling into the nation from other countries.
Individuals returning from regions with known novel coronavirus outbreaks are not currently obliged by the Belgian government to self-isolate unless they fall ill within 14 days, meaning Bamber can compete in Spa without hindering his IMSA commitments.
2020 was also set to have EBM contest its inaugural World Challenge Asia alongside its Asia Carrera Cup challenge with budding Kiwi GT racer Reid Harker behind the wheel in his first full-time drive with the team.
After a successful pre-season test in February Harker’s season remains shrouded in uncertainty as the global pandemic has seen the Carrera Cup championship postponed with a shortened season unlikely to entice the interest of the 24-year-old.