Wanganui expat racer Earl Bamber has added another Porsche racing trophy to his ever-expanding cabinet after the 23-year-old won the first round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in Spain at the weekend.
Now based in Asia, Bamber has been a sensation since he won the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in his rookie year and made a good start to 2014 by winning the opening race of that series in Malaysia at the end of March.
Carrera Cup class consists of racing versions of the road-going Porsche GT3 car.
As well as Asia, Bamber has been racing in the Carrera Cup Deutschland in Germany for Team 75 Motorsport, having come third in the opening round and winning the second round at the start of May.
But the Supercup, with its very highly modified GT3s, is another step up entirely with a schedule which follows the Formula 1 series as support races during the F1 European rounds.
Bamber had won a scholarship to enter the championships this year with the Fach Auto Tech team and. in his debut in Barcelona, he beat Austrian Philipp Eng (Team Project 1) and Great Britain's Ben Barker (Verva Lechner Racing Team) to the flag.
Bamber punched the air as he revelled in his maiden Supercup win.
"This is totally unbelievable. How fantastic is it to kick off my first season in this series with a win. I'm quite happy if it continues like this," he said.
Eng took pole position during qualifying on Saturday by the barest fraction, beating Bamber by 18-thousandths of a second.
But on Sunday, Bamber got the jump off the line with his 911 GT3, which is based on the seventh generation of the Porsche 911 and brings 460 horsepower to bear.
Bamber would then hold the Austrian off to win by five seconds.
"Unfortunately, my grid position was completely in the shade and the track was still damp from rain during the night," said Eng.
"The sun had already dried the second spot and for this reason I had no answer to Earl and he was simply faster than me in the race."
Barker got up to third after starting seventh on the grid in the 12-car field.
"During 2013, I didn't manage once to finish in the top three and now I do it at my first race of the season. That was a fantastic moment," he said.
Bamber takes 20 points from Barcelona to lead the series by two points from Eng, while he is well clear in the rookie standings of three drivers with Alex Riberas (McGregor, Attempto Racing) sitting on 12 points.
The next Supercup round is on the famous 3.34km Monte Carlo street circuit on May 22-25.