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Porsche Fightback “Something We Never Been Through”

Nick Tandy explains how Porsche overcame early setbacks to win 12H Sebring…

Photo: Scott LePage/IMSA

Nick Tandy has described Porsche’s GT Le Mans class victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring as something the No. 911 crew “has never been through”.

Tandy, Fred Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet jointly fought their way back into contention during the second half of the race after struggling to work their Porsche 911 RSR in the first-half rain.

The CORE autosport-run entry went on to take the lead in the final two hours with Tandy making a string of moves on the GTLM front-runners before ultimately passing leader Ryan Briscoe’s Ford GT on the out-lap after the last set of pit stops.

“The way the race went, to come out with the victory is something that we’ve never been through,” Tandy told Sportscar365.

“We went from first, fastest in qualifying, to last and lapped within about 30 minutes, to being nowhere in the middle of the race and then the front.

“The car was set up for the night-time, but it seemed everybody else’s pace dropped off way more than ours did.

“Maybe it’s a similar thing with the wet conditions where we’re kinder on the tires which is good for a run into the evening with a soft tire, but not so good in the rain.

“That’s something we’ll have to look into. But we’ve never done a back-to-back victory in the team, so we’re really happy to come back as the defending [Sebring] champions and re-hold it.”

Tandy pinpointed the full course caution that came out with 15 minutes remaining as the sign that Porsche would be clear to make it to end of the race without needing to take on a splash of fuel.

All GTLM front-runners except the No. 3 Corvette C7.R pitted with just over an hour to go, with the No. 67 Ford coming in a lap later than the No. 911 to hold a slight edge in the economy stakes.

However, the safety car, which was caused by a suspension failure for the GT Daytona class Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, meant the leaders could run unfiltered to the checkered flag.

“We set our stall out with about four hours to go to try and do something off-strategy and do something with the fuel mileage, and we caught a lucky yellow with about two hours to go, which closed the field,” said Tandy.

“I’m not sure that we would have made it without the yellow at the end. I think both us and the Ford were super tight on fuel and they went a lap later in their stop, which meant we leapfrogged them but they had an extra lap of fuel in the car.

“So it would have been interesting. I was glad that the yellow came out and that we could have a flat-out run to the end.”

Saturday’s result marked back-to-back Sebring class victories for the trio, who also top GTLM class honors in last year’s Motul Petit Le Mans.

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

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