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Black Bullet Profile: Earl Bamber
Formula Asia V6 Championship
www.earlbamber.com

 
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Date of Birth: July 9 1990
Birthplace: Wanganui NZ
Resides: Wanganui NZ
Personal: Single
Height: 1.8m
Weight: 72kg
Interests: Surfing, Music, Rugby

Earl Bamber is one of New Zealand's fastest rising young talents, having parlayed a championship-winning career start in karts to a single-seater motor racing career which already includes victory in the Formula BMW Asia championship and a test role with New Zealand's A1GP team. All before he turned 17!

So impressive has his rise been that in 2008 internationally-recognised website www.driverdb.com rated him as the sixth highest ranked Future Star in the world, his 24 wins from 97 starts hit rate making him the highest ranked New Zealander on the Future Stars list.

The Earl Bamber story begins in Wanganui, a river-side city on the west coast of New Zealand's North Island. Having karted himself Earl's father Paul was happy to make the 200+ km round trip to the closest track to give sons Earl and William their first taste of competition.

Earl was eight when he first drive a kart and 12 when he won his first major title, Junior 100cc Yamaha Restricted at the North Island Sprint Championships at Palmerston North in 2002.

To years later he won his first New Zealand title - Junior ICA - at KartSport New Zealand's annual Sprint Kart Championship meeting in Auckland in 2004, and later that year earned himself a trip to the the Rotax Max category's annual Grand Final in Portugal after dominating the Junior class in the 2004 Rotax Max Challenge of New Zealand.

Earl retains the record of highest placed New Zealander at the annual Grand Final event, finishing third in the Junior final.

The next step was 'up-the-ladder' to single-seater racing cars Earl signing with the Powerbuilt-backed Autotek team to contest the 2005/06 New Zealand Formula Ford championship.

Early indicators were good, with Earl bracketed as joint favourite for the title with fellow Rookie Shane van Gisbergen. However, the direction of Earl's early career was about to change.

After impressing at the annual rookie test at Bahrain Earl was offered a drive in the 2006 Formula BMW Asia Championship. With it's stated aim of identifying and nurturing promising young drivers - and having already fast-tracked the careers of both Nico Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld, a drive in the category offered a once-in-the-lifetime opportunity which Earl and his family were keen to take.

To help friends and members of the business community in Wanganui banded together to create Club 500, an entity to help fund Earl's career and the rest, as they say, is history.

Though he was still 15 when he embarked on the first step in his international career Earl proved not only to be the best of the rookies but also one of the quickest drivers in the 2006 Formula BMW Asia championship, winning races, setting new class lap records and going on to become the first driver to take the overall series title in his rookie year.

Impressive stuff and enough to see him make his debut in New Zealand's Toyota Racing Series over the 2006/07 summer then back in Asia in 2007, helping his team there, the Malaysia-based Team Meritus, and competing in selected Formula V6 Asia races.

Earl also travelled widely in 2007, checking out opportunities in the UK, Europe and the United States before returning home to head the Giltrap Group-backed A1 team.NZL Junior Development Team in the 2007/08 Toyota Racing Series.

The 2007/08 Toyota Racing Series will be remembered for the pitched battle Earl fought with Christchurch's Andy Knight, only settled in Knight's favour when mechanical problems saw Earl lose the points advantage he had built up at the final points round at Invercargill's Teretonga Park.

Before that Earl had won the prestigious Lady Wigram Trophy race and the International series-within-a-series and after he dominated the final non-championship round of the 2007/08 series at the new Hamilton 400 V8 Supercar race meeting in Hamilton, qualifying quickest, winning both races and setting the fastest race lap and new outright circuit lap record!

Earl was also invited to join A1 Team.NZL as rookie tester at three of the rounds of the 2007/08 A1GP Series, successfully completing Friday testing duties and providing feedback to the team and driver Jonny Reid.

And in 2008? After accepting an invitation to contest the first two rounds of the 2008 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 championship Earl has returned to Asia to contest the full 2008 Formula Asia V6 Championship with Qi-Meritus. And after another clean-sweep at the third round at Sentul in Indonesia he currently leads the championship points standings.





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