New Zealander Earl Bamber has a pretty handy reputation as an endurance racer having won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice and the World Endurance Championship once. Despite being a rookie co-driver in the Supercars series there's probably no one better to have in your car.

Fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen has been full of praise for long-time mate Bamber. The pair have been battling it out in various categories since they were young fellas, and the Sandown 500 result speaks for itself.

"Sandown was pretty good fun and I enjoyed it a lot," Bamber told the Herald on Sunday on his way to Bathurst. "It wasn't easy from where we started [11th], but the car was quick and the team were mega.

"When you know you've got a quick car and a good team it makes our job in the cockpit a lot easier."


Getting on the podium in your first (well for Bamber anyway) Pirtek Enduro Cup race speaks volumes for Bamber's adaptation to the supercar and the series itself. While Sandown was a bit of a baptism of fire, today's race at Mount Panorama for the Bathurst 1000 should hold no trepidation for the Asia-based Bamber.

He's put in a few kilometres around the demanding and challenging circuit having raced three times in the Bathurst 12 Hour, finishing first in class B twice in 2014 and 2016. In fact, one of his co-drivers in 2016 was Scott McLaughlin, with Stephen Grove.

"Having been here before at the Bathurst 12 Hour certainly helps me a lot. It's not like going to Sandown and a track you don't really know.

"It's also going to help being able to race Super2 over the weekend [Bamber is co-driving with Brenton Grove]. Doing both categories will help with track time especially if the conditions are changeable.

"Preparation is looking good and doing the Super2 race will be even better. I've known them for a while and it's great to be able to help Brenton. It won't be easy but we'll just have to see how it goes," said Bamber.

Being handed the keys to a main game driver's car is responsibility enough on its own. Taking on the pressure of piloting the car of series leader van Gisbergen, especially around Bathurst, raises things to whole new level.

"In the end I just listen to what Shane and the team want me to do. It's his and their championship and I'm just there to fill in the gaps. We worked really well together at the first race and had a really good plan between us about what we wanted to do.

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"We'll go with the same tactic this weekend. He's a fantastic driver coach for me, seriously, he's so good at telling me the tricks and how to get the best out of the car. For me, the day you stop learning in a race car is the day you become slow.

"Motor racing is one of those sports that will show you that you don't know everything and you can be bought back down to earth very quickly," he said.

No two drivers are the same personality-wise and nor do they have the same driving styles.

The key to success in sharing a car is not to comprise the car setup too much to suit either driver.

Fortunately for the Red Bull Racing engineers and mechanics, Bamber is happy to follow van Gisbergen's lead and adapt to the full time Supercars driver's style.

"Shane and I drive quite similar, which helps. He also knows a lot more about the car than I do, so I just drive what's given to me - it's quite easy. I just follow him and what he likes. As far as I'm concerned that's your role as a co-driver. You just have to keep learning.

"He's the expert in the car so I just keep soaking up everything like a big sponge,' he said.

The Kiwi pairing are second favourites to win with the Aussie bookies and you'd be a mug to rule them out.