Earl Bamber was inducted into the FIA Hall of Fame in 2019; recognition of his incredible success as a Porsche Factory Racing driver. He is a two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Carrera Cup Asia champion and Porsche Supercup champion. In his earlier years, Earl was a member of the Giltrap Group’s A1GP Junior Development Team in the Toyota Racing Series, and later drove New Zealand’s Black Beauty in the A1 GP. T The 2010 NZ Grand Prix winner is now considered one of the worlds best Sportscar drivers, claiming the 2017 WEC title and the 2019, the IMSA Sportscar Championship in the USA.
From Formula One to Sportscars to Formula E, Brendon Hartley is not only one of New Zealand’s best drivers – he is incredibly versatile…not to mention tenacious. His F1 debut with Toro Rosso was the prime example: Hartley’s open-wheel career seemed resigned to history by 2017, until a phone call to Red Bull bosses saw him become the first New Zealand to drive in F1 in more than three decades. He scored three points finishes in 25 starts. Hartley remains one of the most in-demand drivers in the world. Along with driving for GEOX in Formula E and Toyota in the WEC, he also continues to work with top F1 teams as a development driver. He earned a place in the FIA Hall of Fame in 2019 for his two World Endurance Titles and victory in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Shane Van Gisbergen
Shane Van Gisbergen was born to race. The highly accomplished 30-year-old New Zealander developed his career driving for the Giltrap Group in the Toyota Racing Series before making his debut in the Australian Supercars Championship in 2007 at 17 years old with Stone Brothers Racing. Phenomenally talented from the get-go, Shane has only got faster over what has been a stellar career. The 2016 Supercars Champion has also finished runner-up on three occasions with 35 race victories. In between Supercar Races, Shane has notched up some impressive Sportscar successes, including driving a McLaren to the 2016 Blancpain GT title. In 2019, Shane received the prestigious Barry Sheene Medal. The honour is awarded to the best and fairest driver in the Supercars Championship.
Mitch was only 16 when he won the New Zealand Grand Prix, making him the youngest International Grand Prix winner in history. His success wasn’t a surprise however, he had won the Toyota Series Championship the previous season. A champion Karter, Evans has been at the front of the grid since kindergarten. His talent at such a young aged saw him picked up by the Mark Webber and Christian Horner owned Arden Team to race in the GP3 World Championship. He delivered them the title in his second season. Following five GP2 victories, Mitch was signed by Panasonic Jaguar Racing to drive in Formula E, and in 2019 he won the Rome e-Prix.
By the time Scott Dixon claimed the US Indy Lights season in a car owned by Colin Giltrap, he was already a household name in New Zealand. Scott was granted special dispensation to race in the Nissan Sentra Series at 13, and he never looked back. A run of New Zealand titles led to Scott testing an Indy Lights car at Sebring in 1999 – he broke the lap record on his eighth lap and his incredible run in the US was underway. That Indy Lights title in 2000 was followed by five IndyCar titles. Over his 17 IndyCar seasons Scott has won 45 times, including victory in the 2008 Indianapolis 500. Only AJ Foytt and Mario Andretti have more US Championship race wins than the Kiwi. In 2019 Scott received the New Zealand Order of Merit, and he has twice been named New Zealand Sportsman of the Year.
Chris Van Der Drift
With six New Zealand Karting titles behind him, Chris van der Drift decided to maek his jump to single seaters overseas, and after five seasons in Europe he claimed the European Formula Master Title. Four starts for A1GP Team NZL followed, but it was his move to sportscars in 2013 that allowed Chris to show his true potential, with three Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Championship titles. In 2019 Chris made an impressive debut in Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia, with eight victories to finish second in the championship.
Johnny Reid comes from a well-known New Zealand racing family, so it was little surprised that he showed impressive talent at an early age. That success in Karting, Formula Ford and Formula 3000, led to Colin Giltrap signing him up to drive the 'Black Beauty' for New Zealand in the A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport. Reid won seven times in A1GP, helping the New Zealand Team to runner-up spot in both seasons two and three. In recent years Reid has found success in both touring and Sports Cars, claiming back to back NZ Endurance titles in 2018 & 2019.
The first driver signed to A1GP Team New Zealand, Matt Halliday secured a podium finish in the very first race at Brands Hatch in 2005. He went on to claim two more podium finishes behind the wheel of Black Beauty over the next two seasons of the championship. In 2006, Matt was awarded the Jim Clark Trophy as the New Zealand driver who shows a sportsmanlike attitude to the sport and fellow competitors and natural ability in “putting up the most meritorious racing performance during the season”.
Will Bamber has recently followed his brother into the World Endurance Championship driving a Porsche 911 RSR. The same weekend he made that WEC debut, Will also claimed a first and a second place in the Carrera Cup Asia finale to secure second in the championship for the Team Porsche New Zealand entry.
With multiple New Zealand titles, including the V8 SuperTourer Championship where he won 9 of the 12 races, Simon Evans has been one of the standout NZ based drivers over recent years. He would going to claim the BNT V8 title before making the switch to GT and electric racing. In 2018 Simon made a stunning start to his Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy tenure, winning on debut in Saudi Arabia and going on to finish 4th in his maiden championship, Simon made an even stronger start to 2019, winning the first race and finished second in race two.
Liam Lawson exploded onto the national scene, after a Formula Ford season that was near perfect. The Pukekohe raised teen claimed every single pole position and won fourteen of the fifteen races to become the youngest Formula Ford 1600 champion…ever! The fairy-tale continued in Toyota Racing Series, Liam claiming the championship and NZ Grand Prix, and in the process was picked up by the Red Bull Junior Team. His first season in Europe netted two podiums in the FIA Formula 3 to finish 11th. Liam also finished second in the Euroformula Open Championship.
Hailing from Southland, Leitch raced the Lamborghini Auckland sponsored Huracan Super Trofeo entry in the Asian Championship in 2019 where thanks to eight podium finishes and two wins, he finished second in the Pro-Am series. Leitch is a veteran of the Toyota Racing Series, having competed in six seasons, with six wins and a best result of third place in the 2016 championship.
Le Mans-winner Earl Bamber has joined forces with Official Porsche Centres of New Zealand.
Six-time IndyCar Champ Scott Dixon wasn't the only grinning kiwi at the St. Petersburg street circuit over the weekend. Compatriot Hunter McElrea was also victorious in the Indy Pro 2000 support series; claiming his maiden victory in the...