Opinion: Give Nick Tandy a full-time LMP1 contract
It couldn’t have worked out much better for Porsche fans, could it? At the end of the 83rd Le Mans 24-hour epic, Weissach’s works team met the chequered flag with a superb 1-2 finish that cemented their stranglehold at the famous La Sarthe race once more.
And even better, sharing duties at the wheel of the victorious no.19 Porsche 919 hybrid was Total 911’s very own columnist, Nick Tandy. It was Tandy’s co-drivers (Le Mans rookies Earl Bamber and Nico Hulkenberg) who saw out the last stints of the race on track, but it was the Brit’s mesmerising form and blistering pace during his night spell that ensured the no.19 car built on what was to be an unassailable advantage, leading the field for some 16 hours in total.
The resulting furore has seen Tandy – the 32nd Le Mans winner from the UK – lavished across mainstream media headlines as ‘the farmer who conquered Le Mans’, and the man himself has told Total 911 that most of his time has been spent speaking with an array of television and print media since his return home to Bedfordshire. However, long before 3pm local time on Sunday when the no.19 car crossed the finish line, regular readers of Total 911 magazine will be all-too aware of the Brit’s mercurial talents at the wheel of a Porsche.
From a Porsche perspective, Nick’s rise has been as successful as it has rapid: four years after his Carrera Cup debut in 2009 with Konrad Motorsport, Tandy signed-up as a Porsche works driver, victorious in the GT class of the 24 hours of Daytona. Even then though, the affable Brit was still putting in guest performances in British GT for the likes of Trackspeed, eventually being offered a role in the factory team for Porsche North America’s flagship season last year.
After pushing Weissach for a test in the LMP1 car, Tandy was eventually given a spot in the ‘third’ 919 for Le Mans, arguably set up as the car that tactically wasn’t meant to win the race. However, triumph it did, and Total 911 magazine’s columnist is once again knocking on the door at Weissach – this time to LMP1 Vice President Fritz Enzinger – to get Porsche to facilitate the next step on his ever-ascending career. For Tandy, that next step is a permanent seat in an LMP1 car, and other teams will no doubt be watching the situation develop with interest.
Porsche are particularly hushed about which drivers they offer contracts to, and announcements on next season are not likely to be made until the end of this calendar year. Tandy meanwhile can now count himself among an enviable realm of Great Brits including Richard Attwood, Derek Bell, and Allan McNish who have triumphed at La Sarthe in a Porsche. That said, surely the ultimate reward would be to have a new, early contract turn up in the post that guarantees a seat in a Porsche LMP1 car for next year, along with the chance to defend his Le Mans crown at the 84th instalment in 2016.
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