Nick Tandy sits alongside the dynamic duo of Richard Attwood and Derek Bell for a press conference at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone as part of the unveiling of a new 911. Officially named the 911 Carrera 4 GTS British Legends Edition and built in partnership with Porsche Exclusive, this special 991 pays homage to the three British drivers (Allan McNish is strangely not included) who have pedaled Weissach to overall glory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The moment, however, is bittersweet. While Messrs Attwood and Bell wax lyrical to the assembled media about their glory days at La Sarthe, comfortable in the knowledge their own racing careers are long since over, Tandy must juggle the euphoria of his 2015 win with the harsh realization he may never get the chance to tackle that famous race again.
Porsche, of course, has dumped its LMP1 program in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in favor of Formula E. With the niceties of the general press conference soon over, the Bedfordshire, England-based racer is happy to speak more frankly about losing his LMP1 seat, plus many other subjects, in a spirited one-to-one with Excellence.
Excellence: Nick, the switch to Formula E is well documented now, and of course it directly affects you. What are your thoughts on the move?
Tandy: Well, I’ve lost my job in terms of my seat in the WEC and LMP1, which is a fact. We’re all disappointed. It’s not just me: everybody who works on that project—and there are a lot of people who work on the LMP1 project at Porsche—as well as everyone who works at the WEC, everyone who likes Le Mans and sports car racing in general is disappointed because it was so good for so long. For me, I’d just got back in the [LMP1] team and back to Le Mans, came close to winning it again in 2017, and now I know that’s no longer going to happen. However, Porsche isn’t pulling out of motorsport full stop, let’s make it clear, and the potential to go and race these awesome new 911 RSRs is great. The stuff that comes out of Weissach these days, whichever vehicles it is, is monumental, so all is not lost from that perspective.
Excellence: Porsche has confirmed you’ll be back in a 911, primarily driving in States, in 2018. How do you feel about that?
Tandy: It was my idea, actually! When the LMP1 project ended I asked immediately if they [Porsche] would have me back in America. I have a good track record over there and enjoy racing in the States. The adventure begins with Daytona in January so it’s going to be a long campaign but hopefully a fruitful one too.