Nick Tandy says there’s “no thoughts” in playing a conservative race strategy, with Porsche focused on scoring wins in the final four IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship rounds of its factory GT Le Mans program.
The CORE autosport-run operation was taken out of championship contention after being forced to miss last month’s event at Mid-Ohio due to Porsche’s decision to quarantine all of its drivers from the 24 Hours of Le Mans because of several positive COVID-19 cases within the group.
It dropped both the Nos. 911 and 912 crews of Tandy/Fred Makowiecki and Earl Bamber/Laurens Vanthoor to the bottom of the GTLM standings, and more than 50 points behind class-leaders Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor of Corvette Racing.
Porsche, meanwhile, trails Chevrolet in the manufacturers’ championship by a nearly insurmountable 51 points.
“We were hugely disappointed that we couldn’t go as a team to Mid-Ohio,” said Tandy. “It was obviously the first race that the Porsche North America team has missed since Daytona 2014.
“We understand the situations surrounding the decision but of course as competitors, you live to compete and go racing.
“It was sad to watch it online from the UK.
“It’s a little bit of a different situation now because we know we’ve dropped so many points in the championships that our championship chances have pretty much disappeared from the drivers, teams and manufacturers.
“We’re looking at going into the last four weekends looking to try and get results.”
Bamber was the only driver of Porsche’s four GTLM factory pilots that got to race over the Mid-Ohio weekend, having taken part in the Nürburgring 24 as a substitute for Porsche’s N24-bound drivers that had also been quarantined for having been in Le Mans.
The Kiwi, who described the ordeal as a “whirlwind” is now looking forward to getting back on track in the WeatherTech Championship.
“We’re looking forward to going back, getting to see the [IMSA] guys again,” Bamber said. “They were all disappointed we had to miss a race.
“It’s dashed our championship hopes and now we’re just going out and trying to get podiums and hopefully a win for the team.”
Tandy said he expects they’ll be in a position to take more risks beginning with this weekend’s GT-only sprint race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
“There’s no thoughts about points scoring,” he said. “We haven’t won a race this year so we’re hoping that Charlotte is a new event, a new circuit, a 100-minute race, so things are very different from what we normally set up for a two-hour and 40-minute race.
“We’ve been out of competition — me, Fred and Laurens — for a couple of weeks, so we want to go back racing.
“We’re not looking at points. If it comes to a last-lap kind of judgement and whether it’s worth risk-taking or not. It doesn’t normally come into your mind when you are going for a position or race win.
“But even things like rolling the ball on a strategy call. If there’s a 10 percent chance it can work, if we’re looking for points we’d say, ‘Right, we’re going to go away from this idea.’
“Now with the two cars we might say, ‘One [car], yep we’ll go for it and see what happens..”
Charlotte a Good “Showcase” for Drivers under NASCAR Spotlight
Bamber believes Saturday night’s race will put IMSA drivers in the spotlight of NASCAR teams, and fans as well, in the unique opportunity to race as part of the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series weekend at the Roval.
The two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner made his NASCAR debut in the Xfinity Series road course race at Daytona International Speedway in August and has expressed interest in taking part in more races, especially with NASCAR’s expanded road course schedule in 2021.
“For all of us it’s going to be a good spot to showcase what we can do,” said Bamber. “I’m sure they’ll be watching our race to learn stuff.
“The track changes year on year and and I’m sure they’ll watch our race and vice-versa.
“With the NASCAR boys having announced six road course races next year, I think it’s a good time to showcase [our abilities].
“It’s going to be a really cool event. To join them, the big show in America — it’s the biggest racing championship in America — to join them on the support card is really, really cool.”