There was no repeat victory for Earl Bamber Motorsport in their sophomore visit to 'The Mountain' as the expat Whanganui driver and team owner finished ninth overall at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour on Sunday.
After supervising in last year's victory, the first for manufacturer Porsche at this event, Bamber jumped back in the car himself as part of a very strong three-man team with his SA SportsCar Championship co-driver Laurens Vanthoor of Belgium and the Bathurst racing legend Craig Lowndes.
However, early issues that required extra time in the pits meant EBM completed 312 laps, two laps behind the winning Bentley Team M-Sport, who gave their manufacturer Mercedes an inaugural 12-hour victory at Bathurst – after the debuting EBM had denied them with a late-race charge in 2019.
EMB's total time on the course was 12h 1m 9.7165s.
"Gutted by the race yesterday," Bamber said on social media on Monday.
"Had brake issues early and lost two laps and never recovered. We had a great car so it feels like one that got away.
"Proud of everyone in the team. It was really cool to drive for our own team and with Laurens Vanthoor and Craig Lowndes, it was a awesome weekend.
"Huge thank you to Meguiars Australia, Giltrap Group and Porsche for making the weekend possible.
"We will be back."
Earlier in the Saturday qualifying, Vanthoor qualified the car in P5 for the Top 10 shootout, and EBM maintained that position on the grid for the start of the race on Sunday morning.
In the classic Aussie story, amongst all the serious business there was time for a laugh when the final practice session on Saturday morning had to be red flagged due to some kangaroos bouncing up the hillside circuit.
EBM had to be feeling confident with the inclusion of Lowndes, the three-time Australian V8 Supercars champion who has won the iconic Bathurst 1000 on seven occasions, along with two previous 12 Hour victories.
Bamber told Speedcafe.com last week that having the Aussie legend's services was "really, really special".
"The addition of Craig is just awesome, to be honest.
"If I put on my team owner hat, if you ever said, 'okay, you're going to have Craig Lowndes drive for your team', it's such a… we're still in our infancy, really.
"Awesome to have him in the car. He's enthusiastic, he's keen, he's put a lot of knowledge and a lot of info to the team as well."
However, in a career that has included two Le Mans victories, a FIA World Endurance Championship and Porsche titles in Carrera Cup and Supercup, Bamber still waits for his first Bathurst victory as a driver.
"[Vanthoor and I] come close both of us a few times, so we're really hungry to do it.
"The quality of the field is something that's top notch and I think it's also a testament to everyone here at the Bathurst 12 Hour.
"They've made a world class event of it and it's a race that everyone wants to come to."
It completed a roller coaster seven days across both hemispheres for Bamber, who the previous weekend had finished in second place at the Rolex 24 At Daytona for the Porsche GT Team.
Joined by Vanthoor and France's Mathieu Jaminet, Porsche GT was runnerup in the GTLM division to the BMW Team RLL, consisting of Chaz Mostert, Augusto Farfus, John Edwards and Jesse Krohn.