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TANDY: COTA Debrief

Nick Tandy files his latest Sportscar365 column…

Photo: Porsche

COTA was a great weekend for us. We showed good pace in Free Practice, we qualified on pole and we led for the majority of the race until we made the swap at the end.

From our point of view, we’re still looking to win the manufacturers’ championship as well, so it was a great weekend with regards to that.

I’m really proud of myself and all my teammates, and of course, it maximizes the result for Porsche on a weekend when we really had to fight quite hard, so it’s pleasing.

It wasn’t just a straight race because we were fighting Toyota on strategy, and there were a lot of options on tire strategy.

With the 80-minute maximum drive time, things like driver changes came into the equation a lot more than at previous rounds.

It was really nice to get into the race from a strategic point of view and not just from a driving side, which is something that we’ve missed a bit since Le Mans.

In the end, the heat wasn’t so much of a problem. Because we were single-stinting, and it was around an hour in the car, it wasn’t a problem.

I’m sure a double stint would have been a lot harder, but I think we’re one of the cars that isn’t quite so temperature-sensitive inside the cockpit.

It’s what we prepare for and train for when we go hot weather testing in the summer, so we were prepared for the heat.

In the end, it was nice getting in the car and out of the car, or getting two separate stints in a six-hour race, which isn’t normal.

It kept all the drivers involved in the race a lot longer as we weren’t just doing the double stint at the start and leaving it to your teammates for the finish, for example.

Fuji is definitely going to be a track that looks like it will suit Toyota’s car a lot better than Mexico and Austin did.

Naturally, because of the length of the straight and speed of the circuit, we’ll have to trim a bit of downforce from the car which has been our key strength in the last three rounds.

It’s not just ultimate pace, but it’s how you look after your tires as well, and the downforce helps with that. I expect Toyota to be right there, if not favourites going into Fuji.

It’s one where it’s possible for the drivers’ championship to get wrapped up for our teammates so we hope this is the case.

We just need to hope that it’s as close of a race as Austin was and that we work hard with the progress we’ve made in previous rounds and back at Weissach.

Before that we’re taking the 919 Hybrid for a demo run to one of my favourite all time circuits, the Brands Hatch Grand Prix track, so I’m really looking forward to driving the car around the fast back section in front of the UK fans at the British Touring Car Championship finale.

Shortly after I’m off to Atlanta for another classic event, Petit Le Mans, to help my team mates in the Porsche GT Le Mans team, so a busy few weeks coming up.

All in all Austin was a much more enjoyable race than Mexico, simply because we had to work hard for it, and that’s the sort of races that you enjoy winning more.

Nick Tandy (@NickTandyR) is the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner and Porsche LMP1 factory driver, driving for the German manufacturer in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

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