Earl Bamber (Fach Auto Tech) was the favourite to clinch the 2014 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup title as the series headed to Austin and Circuit of the Americas this month. Being the favourite though, can often be an irrelevance and occasionally it can act as a hindrance.
Bamber let neither of these factors affect him though and swept to glory following a weekend where the combination of a new circuit, a double header and a title to decide were all contributors to some of the best racing in living Supercup memory.
Race one took place on Saturday and it was occasional visitor to the series in 2014 and 2013 champion, Nicki Thiim (Walter Lechner Racing Team) who started from pole. Or rather bogged down on the line and gave Kuba Giermaziak (VERVA Lechner Racing Team) who lay in second in the series table the opportunity to dive into the race lead.
Slowly but surely and eventually spectacularly, the Polish drivers’ hopes unravelled. Firstly, Thiim squeezed back into the race lead, then Michael Ammermüller (Walter Lechner Racing Team) stole second away and finally Klaus Bachler (Konrad Motorsport) deposed Giermaziak from the podium.
Next on the list to attack the ailing Pole was Bamber. Attack in this instance became quite literal. In the dying laps Bamber dived to the inside at the hairpin and got a decent run off the corner. Giermaziak tried to defend and swept towards Bamber’s car. The tiniest of contact swept Giermaziak left and then right back across the circuit glancing near the barriers.
Bamber would finish in fourth and place one hand on the title. Giermaziak would finish eleventh with newly crowned Carrera Cup Deutschland champion Philipp Eng (Team Project 1) gaining fifth.
So to Sunday. The decider of the 2014 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. In contrast to the aforementioned finale to the Carrera Cup Deutschland where the drivers appeared keener to drive into rather than past each other, this was a finale that featured some epic racing.
Particularly for race victory and title glory. For matters of simplicity, it is easiest to focus on the main body of the race as thus. After a messy start it boiled down to a straight four way fight for victory between Eng and Ammermüller, the former having stolen the Deutschland title from the latter, with Bamber and Giermaziak’s British teammate Ben Barker behind.
The world’s first sixteen wheeled Porsche circulated for some time, with Eng aiming for his first victory in the series. Three laps from the end of the season, Ammermüller shovelled those hopes along with Eng, off the circuit at the hairpin leading on to the long back straight at COTA.
The pair re-joined with little momentum and Bamber threw caution to the cool Texas breeze and went to the very inside of the circuit. Ammermüller pushed the New Zealander onto the paint, allowing Eng to pull to the outside and Barker to close up ever more.
The front trio arrived at the end of the straight almost touching and Ammermüller jumped from the middle to the lead. Bamber stole second and Barker clambered all over Eng but to little avail until the German ran wide at the last corner. A clearly determined former race leader swiftly stole the position back at turn one.
These were the positions as the flag fell and the curtain closed on a sublime race, a sublime weekend and a sublime season of Supercup racing. Giermaziak’s attempts fell at the last and he finished seventh having been outperformed over the weekend by Bamber.
To the New Zealander we must go to conclude. In a year where the calibre of the Supercup field rose to new heights, Bamber stood tallest. The benefit of winning Porsche’s most prestigious GT title must not be underestimated and to see the youngster as part of the German manufacture’s GT Works programmes next year will be off little surprise to those who had the pleasure of watching him in 2014. Over the final weekend he drove with supreme calm and precision at points where things could have become all too clumsy and derailed his bid. The fact he didn’t allow this to happen in such heated circumstances, is the biggest compliment this author can give him.