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Third Straight Sebring Win a “Fairytale Ending” for Porsche

Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber reflect on Porsche’s 1-2 finish at Sebring in final GTLM outing…

Photo: Porsche

Nick Tandy said scoring his and Fred Makowiecki’s third consecutive Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring GT Le Mans class victory in a 1-2 finish for Porsche GT Team in its final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race has been a “fairytale ending” to the program.

Tandy, Makowiecki and Earl Bamber drove the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19 to an unexpected win after late-race contact took the then-leading No. 25 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE out of contention on the race’s final restart.

It allowed the Englishman to also end the CORE autosport-run operation’s campaign with its third straight win of the season after a challenging start to the year.

“We were trying to chase down the 25 BMW,” Tandy explained. “We probably didn’t have the pace on them on a long run but were obviously trying to keep pressure on them. 

“I think just by being quick enough and being there on the restart in putting pressure on was the telling factor.

“It just goes to show you that in these races you don’t need the fastest car, you just need to hang around and be in with a chance.

“I don’t know how many times we’ve said that before and we end up winning these things.

“It’s not just this weekend but to finish the season with three wins in a row is pretty unbelievable.

“I was worried about people dropping their heads and losing focus.

“We lost some people within the team but it goes to show that everyone that’s been here over the last three races has put in an unbelievable effort.

“To win this one at Sebring with a 1-2 for the team is like a fairytale ending.”

Bamber, who earned his first Sebring class win, said he felt it was a “super fitting” way to finish the factory GTLM program after its seven-year run.

“The last race is always what you remember by and a 1-2 is the perfect way to go out with this program, right at the top step,” the Kiwi said.

“It’s been a fantastic seven years and we’ve built something strong with such a special team.

“Through strategy and teamwork we’ve been able to win these big races and that’s what it’s all about.”

Double Duty Led to Very Busy Day for Bamber

Bamber held the unique role of driving both the Nos. 911 and 912 for the first time in the race, which he said made for a “very, very busy day.”

“It was a bit crazy because we had some lead-up discussions whether we should do the race with two drivers or three drivers,” he said.

“In the end it was decided that I split. It was a very, very busy day, in and out of both cars.”

The 2019 GTLM champion said both cars were set-up more-or-less the same, which helped the transition.

Bamber completed a double stint in the No. 911 early on before focusing back on his regular No. 912 entry alongside Laurens Vanthoor and Neel Jani.

“I think the biggest drama was that their seat was a bit tighter than our one normally,” he said.

“Apart from that it was the same and everything worked the same from inside, so it was actually super easy to jump between the cars.

“It was my first ever time that I jumped between two cars.

“I don’t think it happens very often. The only other place where people do that is the Nürburgring, where you need four drivers. 

“I think it’s the first time someone has stepped 1 and 2 on the podium here at Sebring. 

“It’s very, very weird feeling as well. We were finishing second at the end of the race and Nick was leading but we were going to win anyway.”

Tandy Concludes Year With Third Major Endurance Victory

Following his wins at Motul Petit Le Mans and the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Tandy has now claimed his third major endurance win over a five-week span.

“It has turned what had looked and has been a pretty dismal and pretty depressing 2020 into something that we can be proud of and will remember forever,” he added.

“Like this thing with Earl… the fact that he’s come first and second in the Twelve Hours of Sebring and won the race for the first time.

“It’s these kind of stories we’ll remember forever. It’s been a really good finish to the season.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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