GT3: Bamber sets early Okayama pace for EBM

GT3: Bamber sets early Okayama pace for EBM

Result: GT3 Official Practice 1

One second covered the first 15 in opening Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS practice at Okayama, but it was Earl Bamber who ended the session on top with EBM.

The Kiwi hasn't contested a Fanatec GT Asia round since the start of 2022 when he and Adrian D'Silva won at Sepang. But the same combination, which reunites in a 992-spec Porsche this weekend, was immediately up to speed at Okayama where they're subbing for EBM's regular pairing of Setiawan Santoso and Reid Harder.

Kei Cozzolino and James Yu set the early pace until Alvaro Parente posted the first sub 1m31s lap after 15 minutes. Bamber then lowered the HubAuto's 911 time by more than six tenths and remained out front thereafter.

His 1m30.318s was ultimately 0.348s faster than Alessio Picariello's best aboard AAS Motorsport by Absolute Racing's Porsche, which pipped Climax Racing's Mercedes-AMG driven by Dennis Lind by 0.005s.

It was perhaps a mark of Lind's accomplishment that Porsches at one stage filled positions first to fourth. Ultimately, though, they had to settle for five of the top six places after Matteo Cairoli (Absolute Racing), Tsubasa Kondo (NK Racing) and Parente (HubAuto) completed the first half dozen.

Seventh went the way of Plus with BMW M Team Studie's M4, while Triple Eight JMR's #888 Mercedes-AMG, R&B Racing's #4 Porsche and K-Tunes' Lexus finished within a tenth of each other.

However, championship leader Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim could only manage 22nd - four places behind fellow title contender Anthony Liu (Craft-Bamboo).

The second 75-minute practice session and subsequent Bronze Test begins at 15:35 JST.