Earl Bamber: That's what endurance racing is all about
Porsche driver Earl Bamber has hailed his second 24 Hours of Le Mans triumph 'magical', describing the circumstances surrounding the victory as the essence of endurance racing.
Bamber, along with team-mates Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard, claimed Porsche's 19th Le Mans win in unexpected circumstances as the leading Toyota cars both retired within an hour of one another, putting Porsche in control, but the #2 car had to battle with its own problems.
“It’s so magical to get the win for Porsche today in those circumstances – It’s what endurance racing is all about," Bamber said after the event.
The car suffered a front-axle motor failure, forcing a lengthy repair, but with rivals Toyota out and the second Porsche hitting trouble, the #2 car eventually retook the lead from Jackie Chan's LMP2 with a handful of laps remaining.
"I was driving at the time when I heard it go ‘bang’ and I thought it was our race done. I brought it back to the pits and the guys looked into it, and we were back out in under an hour.
"It was a matter of fighting back into the top five at first, then that became a podium and then a podium became a win."
Bamber said the team had to "risk it all" to claw back the lost time.
“We were counting the seconds, a few hours out it looked like it might be down to the last lap whether or not we’d pass. It was incredibly tense in the pits and we were going flat-out all the time.
“It was basically a sprint race when we got back out – we had nothing to lose. We risked it all and got the reward.”