Sore foot

“Tandy’s ca­reer is a real rags to riches story”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

Lewis Hamil­ton with­drew from last week’s planned Pirelli tyre test in Spain due to a sore foot. Hamil­ton had been due to test the new 2017 tyres on a mod­i­fied 2015 W06 chas­sis at the Cir­cuit de Catalunya last Wed­nes­day, but backed out after suf­fer­ing the in­jury in train­ing. “It was agreed he wouldn’t test so he could rest and get physio to be in good shape for [the US GP in] Austin, which he will be ready for,” said a team spokesper­son. Nico Ros­berg took the wheel for the test in­stead.

Ire­mem­ber the day clearly. It all be­gan in the me­dia cen­tre at Zand­voort one Satur­day in 2013.

Nick Tandy was on it. Clearly the fastest driver in both free prac­tice ses­sions aboard the Track­speed Porsche 997 GT3R he was shar­ing with David Ashburn. Watch­ing track­side, the Bed­ford man was in a league of his own in terms of both speed and com­mit­ment.

Tandy has been a favourite in Bri­tish GT for years. Per­son­ally, I’ve known him since his For­mula Ford and Bri­tish F3 days. I’ve seen him at his best, and at his worst, and it’s been some jour­ney.

It was in that room on the Nether­lands coast that my­self and fel­low scrib­bler James War­nette de­cided to cham­pion the #Tandy4lmp1 tag on so­cial me­dia. Most backed the idea that Tandy was des­tined for big­ger things.

That hash­tag arises ev­ery now and then when Tandy does get linked with a drive in the big time. His P1 de­but at Spa in 2015 may not have brought the re­sult he wanted, but it cer­tainly stirred up in­ter­est. Then came Le Mans. It took Tandy just 24 hours to be cat­a­pulted into star­dom, along with Earl Bam­ber, as they ran out shock win­ners. Well, it was a shock to those who didn’t know what Tandy was ca­pa­ble of.

After that? Road car calamity ar­rived, and no chance to de­fend the Le Mans win would be forth­com­ing. It was heart­break­ing. So near, and yet so far.

Now there’s a seat avail­able. Mark Web­ber has done a great job in LMP1, and si­lenced many of his crit­ics. But he recog­nises the time is right to stop, and surely Porsche now has to look to ei­ther Tandy or Bam­ber as his re­place­ment.

It’s hard to find an­other driver any­where that would be more de­serv­ing than Nick Tandy. His is a true rags to riches story, tinged with tri­umph and tragedy. He has proven that true tal­ent can get you to the top, even if you don’t have a hefty bank ac­count to fall back on. It wasn’t easy by any means, and took plenty of sac­ri­fice, but he took his chances when they came. Imag­ine what he could achieve given a proper, full-sea­son chance.

Tandy or Bam­ber… I know where my vote goes.

On an­other note it’s truly con­cern­ing to read the re­ports cur­rently cir­cu­lat­ing around Audi’s fu­ture Le Mans and FIA World En­durance Cham­pi­onship fu­ture. The four rings has be­come per­haps the most iconic mod­ern-day sportscar brand, and los­ing it would be a ham­mer blow for both the world’s big­gest mo­tor­sport event and a su­perb world cham­pi­onship.

Other brands have been linked with WEC pro­grammes, such as BMW and Re­nault, but so far none have been forth­com­ing with projects and the lure of new, ri­val classes such as For­mula E has stolen some of the WEC’S ap­peal as a haven for show­cas­ing new rac­ing tech­nol­ogy. The WEC needs its brands, and star driv­ers, to sur­vive and thrive. But it would take some­thing spe­cial to plug an Audi-shaped hole.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.