Two-time Le Mans winning Kiwi Earl Bamber has dropped down a class for this year's legendary 24 Hour race but he is predicting a more competitive race than ever before.
Bamber will line up in the GTE-Pro class in a factory Porsche 911 RSR alongside Brit Nick Tandy and Frenchman Patrick Pilet this weekend.
With his Porsche team stepping out of the LMP1 class Bamber will find himself in a car with less horsepower but the GTE-Pro category features a strong rivalry between manufacturers and some of the best drivers in the world.
"I think it is going to be by far one of the most competitive GT races in the world," Bamber told Radio Sport's D'Arcy Waldegrave. "We have 17 pro cars, which means we have none of these paid drivers and it is the best drivers in the world they can find.
"There are five manufacturers and another Kiwi – Scott Dixon is driving a Ford.
"I think it will be a really tough battle and probably a sprint race for 24 hours."
Bamber tasted victory in both 2015 and 2017 at the world's oldest active sports car race and will spend just under two hours at a time in the car, alternating with his two teammates across the 24 hour period.
"You just have to go out there and try and survive Le Mans and beat Le Mans," he said. "These 24 hour races are brutal.
"As much as you think you know what you are doing in these races motorsport can be a pretty good leveler to bring your feet back on the ground."