Supercars: A text-message to an old rival resulted in racing driver Earl Bamber's dream coming true

A cheeky text message to an old rival was the catalyst for Earl Bamber earning a co-driver seat for the upcoming Enduro Cup in the Supercars Championship.

The Kiwi will pair with Shane Van Gisbergen this weekend at Sandown, as well as Bathurst and the Gold Coast next month.

The 28-year-old factory Porsche driver has long-dreamed of hopping in the front seat of a supercar and emulate Greg Murphy, one of his heroes.

However due to his commitments with Porsche in Europe and North America, his schedule hasn't allowed for it.

But a renegotiated contact, and a gap in his 2018 calendar, presented Bamber an opportunity he couldn't resist chasing.

Late last year the Whanganui native jumped on What's App and messaged Van Gisbergen.

"When I renegotiated my contract with Porsche a few years ago, one of the big topics was to have the permission to race V8 Supercars and Porsche gave me permission," Bamber told Newshub.

"When I saw that this year I had a break in my schedule, I just sent Shane (Van Gisbergen) a text and asked if he needed a teammate and it all developed from there."

Shane Van Gisbergen is in winning form.
Shane Van Gisbergen is in winning form. Photo credit: Getty
Bamber and Van Gisbergen will share the No.97 car in the Enduro Cup.
Bamber and Van Gisbergen will share the No.97 car in the Enduro Cup. Photo credit: Photosport

A couple of meetings with Triple Eight boss Roland Dane made it all official and Bamber was paired with his championship-chasing fellow Kiwi.

Van Gisbergen has overtaken Ford's Scott McLaughlin at the head of the championship standings, meaning Bamber finds himself head first in a battle for the 2018 title.

But Bamber doesn't see his role changing in any way regardless of what shape the Championship takes over the course of the next three-races.

"I knew the pressure involved when I signed, because I knew he was probably going to be involved in a Championship fighting position," Bamber said.

"I don't think it changes too much because the job expectancy is the same.

"The clear goals are to try and win Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast. Whether or not I am involved in a Championship battle, the job required from the co-driver is the same regardless.

"We aren't going there to finish fifth."

Bamber and Van Gisbergen have been racing against each other since their Go-Kart days.

Despite a heated rivalry on the track, Bamber said they developed a friendship based on respect, and to get the chance to drive with his old foe is exciting.

"It's awesome to be driving with Shane. We grew up together fighting in Formula Ford's and the Toyota Racing Series," Bamber said.

"It's great to have him as a driver coach, I can just be a sponge listening and learning from him.

"I'm super excited for Sandown this weekend.

"I can't wait for Sunday, it's going to be pretty special to sit on that grid and do a race start, so hopefully we qualify up front and we can get to that first corner."

The Triple Eight team are in the midst of their best run of 2018 having dominated the last two rounds.

A Red Bull Holden has won five of the last six races, with Van Gisbergen scoring four wins and defending champion Jamie Whincup, one.

Van Gisbergen has turned a near 200 point deficit into a slender 19-point lead over McLaughlin.

It mirrors what the team did last year when Whincup chased down McLaughlin to win the title on the last lap of the Championship.

Bamber has been extremely impressed in his short time with the team.

"The team has been the reference team for a couple of years," Bamber said.

"They did it last year for Jamie (Whincup), they never stop boxing.

"Everyone works together and it's a really big family there. I have been made very welcome right from the beginning and that's what it is all about. Having a really good team behind you is key.

"They win together and they lose together and if they do lose they know how to pick themselves up and get back on track."