Tuesday, Oct 1 03:29pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Earl Bamber to contest Kyalami 9 Hour

Factory backed Porsche driver Earl Bamber will be among one of the title contending driver line-ups at the Intercontinental GT Challenge final in South Africa.

It has been nearly 20 years since an endurance race has been held at Kyalami Circuit. For a time the race was run as part of the FIA World Sportscar Championship as a 1,000 km affair. Now the Kyalami 9 Hour will return but in the modern GT3 era.

Porsche are set to field five factory supported cars over 21-22 November. GPX Racing, Dinamic Motorsport, Frikadelli Racing and Team 75 Bernhard will all run a Porsche 911 GT3 R in the race.

Porsche are in with a shout of the Manufacturers’ Championship, but all eyes will be on Dirk Werner (Germany) and the two Porsche Young Professionals Matt Campbell (Australia) and Dennis Olsen (Denmark).

Perhaps most surprising is that the trio who won at this year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour have all been split up. The trio heads to the final race ranking fifth in the standings, but are only ten points behind the leader.

Campbell will drive for Dinamic Motorsport with Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor of Belgium. The pair are currently leading the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the GTLM division.

Werner will join forces with his works driver teammates Sven Müller (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) for Team 75 Bernhard.

Olsen will compete for Frikadelli Racing with factory pilot Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France).

The fourth car from Weissach will tackle the top category decked out in the historic blue and orange colours of Gulf. This year’s winners of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the world sportscar champions Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France) as well as Richard Lietz (Austria), share driving duties for GPX Racing.

“With a total of five strong teams, five professionally prepared Porsche 911 GT3 R and twelve hungry drivers from the factory squad, our contingent for the IGTC season finale couldn’t be better,” Project Manager Sebastian Golz said.

“We’re deliberately dividing our three Bathurst winners between three different cars to maximise our chances of winning the drivers’ championship title.

“We have only an outside chance of winning the manufacturers’ crown, but we’ll still do everything we can to make the most of the opportunity.

“Kyalami has a big, historic reputation in motor racing, but it is new territory for us all because this is the first international GT race on the new track.

“The South African culture, the incredible location and the world’s elite in GT racing will turn this race into a season highlight. We want to fight for victory.”

Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes-AMG, Nissan and Porsche will all field entries in this year’s race.

The Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar is made up of five endurance races on five continents. While the teams were only permitted to field 2018-spec GT3 cars at the season-opening round in Bathurst (Australia), the latest spec is sanctioned for the Laguna Seca (USA), Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Suzuka (Japan) races and the season finale in Kyalami (South Africa). Porsche will not compete with a factory squad, but instead supports various customer teams in their campaign.