Craft-Bamboo Racing will enter the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in February 2018 with an all Porsche factory driver line-up, consisting of superstar GT drivers Earl Bamber, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor.
This year’s edition of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour marks Craft-Bamboo’s first return to The Mountain since scoring their hard fought third place outright podium in 2015.
With Craft-Bamboo’s recent success in the Blancpain GT Series Asia, where they claimed Porsche Motorsport’s first victory in Asia’s ultimate GT competition, the trio of drivers are eager to kick off the team’s 2018 season with a win in the #991 Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Laurens Vanthoor is a Porsche factory driver with plenty of experience behind the wheel of the 911 GT3 R, running in a variety of sprint and endurance events throughout 2017. After contesting the FIA GT World Cup in Macau in November with Craft-Bamboo, the Belgian GT ace rejoins the team and is confident that he can achieve the so far elusive win. As a four-time Bathurst 12 Hour entrant who has claimed both pole position and a second-place podium, the Belgian’s years of experience at the 6.2km circuit will be instrumental in helping the team fight for victory.
“I am really looking forward to going to Bathurst, it is one of the more exciting events, especially in Australia, it is a big event and it is always very enjoyable to go there,” the former winner of the Total 24 Hours of Spa said. “I came very close to a victory one year but until now I couldn’t get one and it is a dream for me to get a win. I am looking forward to getting back together with Craft-Bamboo, we had a good experience in Macau and we will only be better in Bathurst because we know each other. Together with Earl and Kevin, I think we have a really good package to go for the win.”
Earl Bamber from New Zealand is another Porsche specialist, taking the 2014 Porsche Supercup title and winning the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia twice. A two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans victor, Bamber is viewed as one of the quickest Porsche drivers on the planet. Combine that with two class wins at the Bathurst 12 Hour at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Bamber is ready to fight for his first outright win with the #991 Porsche 911 GT3 R at Mount Panorama.
Said Bamber: “I can’t wait to join the challenge of the Bathurst 12 Hour once again, especially with Craft-Bamboo, a team that I drove with in my early days with Porsche in 2013 with the support of Frank Yu. It is really nice to be rejoining that relationship and taking on ‘The Mountain’, I think we have a really good chance especially with the driver line-up of Kevin and Laurens, it is going to be fantastic. The car was very competitive there last year, so I can’t wait to go there in the new year.”
Kevin Estre rounds out Craft-Bamboo Racing’s triple threat line-up for their Bathurst attack. The Frenchman is a double Porsche Carrera Cup champion, taking both the French and German titles early on in his career before becoming an official Porsche factory driver in 2016. Thanks to two years of competition at Bathurst, Estre’s experience perfectly complements his teammates and he is eager to take his first step onto the podium at the famed Australian track.
“I am really pleased to join Craft-Bamboo for Bathurst, they are a really experienced team, which has had great results in the past year with Porsche in Asia,” Estre said. “Bathurst is a fantastic track and our race with Earl and Laurens was a bit too short last year, so I hope we can achieve a good result. I am sure we will have a competitive car to challenge the competition and fight for a good position. I am really looking forward to experiencing a new team and a great race.”
Craft-Bamboo Racing had a thrilling race in 2015, leading several hours before a setback in the final two hours dropped the team down the order. A late fight back saw the team challenge for the win resulting in a P3 outright podium during their first attempt at the Bathurst 12 Hour. After two seasons competing with the Porsche 911 GT3 R, the team are well prepped for the event and further backed by an all-star factory line-up, the team’s sole intention is to kick off 2018 with triumph at Mount Panorama.
“Craft-Bamboo Racing are really excited to be back at Bathurst this year,” said Darryl O’Young, Craft-Bamboo Racing Director and former Bathurst 12-hour winner. “Following our podium in 2015 we have tried hard to come back in a position to go for the win and together with Porsche and the line-up of Earl, Laurens and Kevin, I feel we have a strong shot this year. The team has experience at this race and we will be working hard over the next month to have everything ready to go for the win. We really enjoy competing in front of the Australian fans and we hope to deliver a great race, but the competition is tough and it will take a near perfect race to go for the win.”