Nick Tandy described his final stint in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen as “80 minutes of qualifying” as the Englishman held off challenges from both Richard Westbrook and Antonio Garcia to claim Porsche’s fourth straight GT Le Mans class win.
Tandy and co-driver Patrick Pilet returned to victory lane for the first time since the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, having edged out Garcia’s Chevrolet Corvette C7.R by 0.452 seconds in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship enduro.
Pit strategy put Tandy’s No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR out front in the fourth hour, which cycled back around after the sister No. 912 Porsche of Earl Bamber pitted from the class lead with 14 minutes to go for fuel.
Tandy, as well as the No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Westbrook and Dirk Mueller in the sister Ford, all stayed out during the race’s fourth and final full-course caution, which set up the shootout to the finish.
“It was 80 minutes of qualifying, really,” Tandy said. “It was absolutely flat-out for the last part of the race.
“Obviously we cycled to the front through great strategy and a bit of luck, of course with the yellow.
“It was good teamwork and then I knew it was time to go. There was no time to waste. We knew all the cars were quick.
“We wanted to build a lead and when the team told me the Corvette was catching and the they told me the kind of lap times he was running, I got a bit scared.
“But in the end, our car held up really well. The Michelin tires got better and better and the car balance got really good as the fuel came out of the car.”
It marked both Tandy and Pilet’s first class win at Watkins Glen and has seen the duo take over the GTLM points lead, one point ahead of Garcia and Jan Magnussen.
Pilet: Crew Worked on Car Until the “Last Minute”
The class win came after a challenging weekend for the CORE autosport-run team, which battled mechanical and electrical gremlins on the No. 911 Porsche through warmup and even on the way to the grid on Sunday morning.
The car, which finished third in the GTE-Pro class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, had to be converted back to full IMSA specification, which included a change of electronics and other components.
A vibration resulted in Pilet getting only two laps in opening practice on Friday, while less than dozen laps were completed in the afternoon session, prior to a rain-soaked FP3 on Saturday morning.
“Bringing the car back from Le Mans we had many, many issues, not from the mechanics but small technical issues we had to find in the car,” Pilet explained.
“Until the last minute we were still working on the car because in warmup we had another issue.
“It was difficult to be honest especially because we really wanted to win this race. We were so close so many times. And we are now back in the championship so it’s really a good win.”