This weekend sees world champions Kiwis Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber along with teammate German Timo Bernhard keen to finish the World Endurance Championship season on a high in Bahrain.

The trio may have wrapped up the world title, and now they want to gift Porsche the ultimate prize in the last of their LMP1 races by getting onto the top spot on the podium.

"Its obviously going to a sad one [race] this weekend," said Bamber on his way to the airport. "It'll be the last time we're be driving 919 in a race so that's going to be special. Having already wrapped up the championship is helpful so it'll be a bit more relaxed and we can go flat out and win the bloody thing."

No two race car drivers are the same and they all have a different way of attacking a race track. Therefore, as you can imagine, they like their respective machinery set up to match exactly their driving nuances.


That's okay if there's only one bloke in the car for a race, but when there are three pilots to contend with, the engineers have their work cut out.

The ideal situation is to get the car in a window of performance that it does not know who is behind the wheel. A very big ask for the crew of 160 people involved in getting car and driver on the grid. And getting the car to be oblivious of who was driving it may just be the edge Hartley, Bamber and Bernhard have had over the rest of the field this year.

"We've all worked so hard together to win the championship and it's a bit sad that it's finished but that's motorsport. We've worked so well together this year and it was the whole team who came together to make it happen.

"It's been a great little partnership and it's great to be able to have that sort of relationship and team spirit with your teammates. Don't worry, we'll be in a car together at some point in the future," said Bamber.

While Hartley and Bamber aren't quite novices having won a couple of Le Mans 24 Hours and WEC titles between them, it's Bernhard who has had more success at long distance racing than you can poke a stick at.

He's one of the very few drivers to have won the triple crown of endurance racing - Le Mans 24 Hour, 24 Hours of Daytona,12 Hours of Sebring and also the Nurburgring 24 Hour to boot. He thinks Hartley and Bamber are two of the best he's seen and who have what it takes to make a long and successful career in motor racing.

"This has been a wonderful year and it will be very emotional this weekend. The time seems to have gone so fast and we have won so much," said Bernhard from Bahrain.

"Everyone has been giving their best for the past five years, which has made us so successful. My two Kiwi boys, as I call them, are pure racers. We have the same idea about motorsport and all three of us would never enter a race for fun and just drive around - we all want success.


"That's why I think we were always so strong. The last three years with Brendon has been exceptional and I've known Earl for a long time when he drove for my own racing team a few years ago.

"There's been such a strong bond between the three of us and the results show that."

When Bernard started the programme back in 2012 he would never have thought he'd be sharing a Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 car with a couple of Kiwis. The German was positive right from the start as he liked the mixture of the three of them who were all in different arcs of their respective careers.

"Brendon was the young guy coming up from single seaters, I was the experienced endurance racer and when Earl came in as a replacement for Mark [Webber] he was quickly up to speed. The team spirit developed very quickly.

"Your country [New Zealand] develops so many great race car drivers especially since it's so small, it's amazing.

"To be honest I'm a bit of a fan of your drivers because they are so pure and very clear in what they want. And they are just good people who are quick and not arrogant.

"They [Bamber and Hartley] always tell me that I am an honourable Kiwi and like the father [laughing]. We have a lot of fun but when it comes to racing we are very professional and we live for motorsports," said Bernhard.

The feeling is mutual as far as Bamber and Hartley are concerned and they have been at pains to say how much they respect Bernhard and the advice and guidance he has given them both over the years.

"Being around 10 years older than them I have told them not to take this time for granted. In a couple of years they will look back at this time as something special with three drivers racing together with the same mindset as it's very unusual.

Sure it has been very successful and to do it with friends and comrades is something very special." he said.

WEC points
1. B Hartley/E Bamber/T Bernard 190
2. K Nakajima/S Buemi 158
3. A Davidson 143
4. A Lotterer/N Janni/N Tandy 113
5. M Conway/K Kobayashi 91.5
6. H Tung/O Jarvis/T Laurent. 74.5