Kelly Grove Racing scores major Bathurst coup

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 12/04/2021
  • By James Pavey

Kelly Grove Racing has locked in a key coup, with decorated racer Earl Bamber to co-drive with countryman Andre Heimgartner at October’s Repco Bathurst 1000.

Bamber will share the #7 NED Whisky Racing Ford Mustang at the 2021 season’s only enduro later this season.

It will mark Kiwi Bamber’s first Bathurst 1000 start since 2018, when he finished fifth alongside Shane van Gisbergen.

He also finished second at the Sandown 500 alongside van Gisbergen.

Bamber is en endurance specialist; notably, he claimed overall 24 Hours of Le Mans honours for Porsche in 2015 and 2017, and won the Bathurst 12 Hour in class alongside KGR co-owner Stephen Grove.

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The 30-year-old also won the World Endurance Championship in the LMP1 in 2017.

He has continued as a full-time factory driver for Porsche Motorsport in the IMSA Sports Car Championship GTLM class; he won the drivers’ title in 2019.

Bamber and Heimgartner will form a formidable combination, with the latter lying in the top 10 in the points heading to this weekend’s Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint.

"I’m thrilled to be joining the guys at Kelly Grove Racing for this year’s Bathurst 1000," Bamber said.

"For me success at Mount Panorama in the 1000 is one of the items on my racing bucket list and to do it with Andre who’s a fellow Kiwi would be fantastic.

Bamber scored a Sandown podium in 2018

"When I raced at the Bathurst 1000 in 2018 the atmosphere was incredible, the race means so much to the fans and the teams and it’s the one race that every single driver wants to win.

"It’s one of the coolest and most competitive endurance events that I’ve raced in."

"I’m really looking forward to working with Andre, he’s a young guy who is starting to cement his place as a competitive force in the championship with really solid and consistent results.

"The team are all really pushing hard with the car development at the moment too and the results of that are starting to show so it’s definitely an exciting time for Kelly Grove Racing and I’m looking forward to being part of that."

The 30-year old Kiwi is without a doubt one of the highest credentialed drivers from the region and he will bring significant racing knowledge and experience to the table for André’s eighth running of the Bathurst 1000.

Heimgartner races at Bathurst in February

Heimgartner added: “It’s really awesome to have Earl join the team for this year’s Bathurst 1000 and to have another Kiwi in the team. Earl is someone that I’ve obviously paid close attention to over the years being from New Zealand and he’s had a huge amount of success in racing internationally.

"Things like winning the 24 hours of Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship are two of the biggest accolades you can have shy of winning a F1 World Championship so his resume is certainly very impressive.

"Earl has raced in Supercars before, but it has been a few years and with a different car so there might be some acclimatisation required for him to get comfortable, but I have no doubt he’ll be very competitive and give NED Whisky Racing the best chance of success."

The Repco Bathurst 1000 will be held across October 7-10.

The 2021 Repco Supercars Championship season will continue at Symmons Plains for the Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint across April 17-18. Tickets are on sale now.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo.

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