Tandy secures Porsche LMP1 deal
British sportscar star Nick Tandy will contest the full FIA World Endurance Championship next season after landing an LMP1 seat with Porsche, and will share his car with former Audi Sport star Andre Lotterer.
German ace Lotterer – who has won Le Mans three times with Audi and also lifted the World title – was announced as a Porsche LMP1 driver last week in the wake of Audi’s withdrawal from the sport.
Together with Lotterer, Porsche has promoted 2015 Le Mans winners Tandy and Earl Bamber to its LMP1 driver roster. Lotterer, Tandy and Bamber replace the retiring Mark Webber and 2016 WEC champions Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas, who have been moved to the brand’s GT programmes.
Lotterer, Tandy and the sole surviving member of Porsche’s world championship crew this year, Neel Jani, will share the number 1 919 Hybrid, with Bamber joining Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley in the sister car.
For Tandy the deal marks the first time he will be involved full-time with an LMP1 programme. The 32-year-old from Bedford made his P1 debut at Spa in the 2015 WEC, and won the Le Mans 24 Hours a month later alongside Bamber and Nico Hulkenberg.
Tandy said he was relishing the chance to fight for a world championship as well as another win in the world’s biggest endurance race.
“This is the top of the tree, the top of the world championship, and it’s just absolutely mega to be involved in that,” said Tandy.
“With Audi pulling out I’m in one of the 12 plum sportscar seats anywhere in the world, and it’s amazing to think that Porsche puts that faith and trust in you.
“There are three aspects to this deal that I’m hugely excited about. The first is to get to fight for a world championship, which I’ve never been able to do before. The second is to get back to Le Mans in an LMP1 car as this year [where he returned to the GT division when Porsche slimmed its efforts down to two cars] was hard to take after the highs of 2015.
“Lastly I’m really looking forward to racing at Silverstone [the WEC seasonopener]. Last year was the first ever that I didn’t get to race in the UK, as I was so busy in America and Europe. It’ll be like a home-coming.”
Tandy also added that he was looking forward to sharing his 919 with Le Mans winners Lotterer and Jani.
“Both Andre and Neel are very highly regarded for good reason – they’re two of the best sportscar drivers out there! We’ll work together well and learn from each other and push each other on. I have absolutely no doubt it’ll be a good team.”
Next year the LMP1 ranks will be slimmed by Audi’s withdrawal, but Tandy believes the fight at the front will be just as tough.
“With less cars the spectacle will naturally go down, but I think the racing has the potential to be closer than ever next year,” he added.
“With the technical regulations being frozen [until 2019], Toyota will have worked hard to develop their car and I don’t think we’ll see any more instances of one brand enjoying a faster car at specific tracks. I think everyone will be optimised for each circuit, so it has the potential to be a real fight.”