We take a look back at some of the key moments in Porsche’s four-year run with the 919 Hybrid through the eyes of those involved with the championship-winning program. Next up is 2015 Le Mans winner Nick Tandy.
The 2015 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will go down in the record books as the first of three consecutive wins for Porsche, and victory for its ‘wildcard’ entry of Nico Hulkenberg, Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy.
The trio entered the race in a third Porsche 919 Hybrid, with both Bamber and Tandy having gotten the call up from the German manufacturer’s GT program, for a two-race program culminating with the twice-around-the-clock enduro.
“Obviously, we didn’t expect [to win it] because there were eight high-level cars, so the chance of winning was always slim,” Tandy told Sportscar365. “We came into the project with the aim to do that.
“We were always fighting with the Audi and it just turned out that the Porsche was the one to have and we were the ones that were out front.
“From leading up to that first test, the plan was always to go to Le Mans and win.
“In the end, it was the fulfillment for all of us, and it took others a few more years.”
Remarkably, Tandy turned his first laps in a LMP1 car less than nine months earlier, in a test at Motorland Aragon in late 2014.
“I didn’t know what to expect and I’d obviously seen the other guys out testing for a long time and racing, but actually when I first drove the car at Aragon, you could see the speed and the lap times it produces,” he said.
“The first time I drove it was just an unbelievable experience. That’s coming from somebody who’s driven a lot of other fast cars in the past.
“That’s probably my most outstanding memory, just the first time I got into the car and drove it with the speed out of the pit lane on the first lap and all that.
“The win at Le Mans, of course, will remain my biggest highlight, and the thing that keeps my memory of the 919 closest to my heart.”
The Le Mans win helped put Tandy on the international map, which was followed up by a shock overall victory in the Petit Le Mans later that year, at the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR in the rain-soaked event.
He, along with fellow Le Mans winner Bamber, stepped up to full-time LMP1 competition this year.
While not achieving the same level of success as his breakout 2015 season, Tandy said he’s still grateful for the chance to shine at the pinnacle of the sport.
“The most important thing for me was giving back the faith that Porsche put in me, to put me in the car in the first place, repaying that trust in you to go out there to drive one of their cars,” he said.
“It was the fulfillment of being able to show that you’re capable of doing that, to Porsche more than the outside world, really.”