After his overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and coming off a streak of success in the U.S., Nick Tandy’s unforgettable summer continues this weekend at the Nürburgring in his return to FIA World Endurance Championship competition.
The Porsche factory driver, who has jumped between prototype and GT machinery this year, climbs back behind the wheel of a LMP2 car for the first time since April’s season-opener at Silverstone, looking to continue the string of good fortunes.
“When you’re riding a wave of success, you want to keep going,” Tandy told Sportscar365.
“When it’s tough, that’s when you want to have a break and restock and think about it and go again. When you’re winning, you don’t want to stop. That’s the best thing about life.”
Tandy hasn’t had much time to soak it all in, having been on a whirlwind schedule since he and co-drivers Earl Bamber and Nico Hulkenberg’s historic win at Le Mans in mid-June.
The 30-year-old Englishman has since taken part in post-Le Mans celebrations, testing programs, VLN races as well as a return to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, where he’s coming off a string of three consecutive class wins with Porsche’s factory GTLM effort.
This weekend, Tandy’s been reunited with the Le Mans LMP2 class-winning KCMG team, where he’ll complete the remainder of the FIA WEC season with the Hong Kong-backed squad.
Despite having driven a diverse array of machinery, from the 1000-plus horsepower Porsche 919 Hybrid to the Porsche 911 RSR and the cost-capped Oreca 05-Nissan, Tandy hasn’t had any issues in adapting on any given weekend.
“Going from P1 to P2 or GT to P2, ultimately for a driver that’s got experience in driving cars, it’s still a car with four tires, a steering wheel and pedals,” he said.
“You use the same sense and sensations of feelings to get the most out of the car, in whatever it is. The experience of doing it helps a lot.”
But he admitted there are still some challenges he’s sometimes faced with.
“The hardest thing is trying to remember everybody’s names,” Tandy said. “When you’re racing in four different teams and there’s 200 people you work with, that’s probably the hardest thing about changing between cars and series all the time.”
For KCMG, which currently lead the LMP2 title race, Tandy admitted it’s been a seamless integration, particularly with fellow Brits Richard Bradley and Matt Howson as co-drivers.
With significant progress having been made to the car since his first, and most recent race outing, Tandy is hopeful of helping deliver additional race wins and the championship.
“The expectation is to win the championship, that’s the whole idea,” he said. “Especially now they’ve had double points in Le Mans, it makes it much easier.
“It would be really nice to win a race with KCMG because I’ve won races in VLN, LMP1 and GTLM so it would be nice to add a LMP2 win as well. But ultimately, we need to score points in every race.
“That’s something you learn by racing more and more in a higher level is when to accept what you’ve got and when to accept that’s the maximum you can get out of a given race or a given weekend.”
Tandy’s focus this year has been helping deliver teams and manufacturer titles, as he won’t be able to take home a drivers’ championship of his own, due to not completing a full season in either series.
His LMP1 commitments prevented him from taking part in two early season TUDOR Championship races, while he scored LMP1 points in the WEC races at Spa and Le Mans.
As a result, Tandy currently sits second overall in the World Endurance Drivers’ Championship, but will see his position fade as points are calculated by overall results.
“It’s the first year I’m racing in the two biggest endurance championships in the world full-time,” Tandy said. “When you think about it, if you get to race in one of those, how great is that?
“The fact that I get to do both… The traveling is a pain but the fact that you get to race great cars in these massive series is awesome. How can you have a better job?”
Having been placed at KCMG for additional prototype experience, Tandy is hoping the extra seat time in the remaining five WEC rounds this year will help lead him to his ultimate goal of landing a full-time LMP1 seat with Porsche.
“That’s the aim,” he said. “I’m in no rush but I’d love to have a chance to be a World Champion with Porsche in the LMP1 project, like everybody at the moment.”
But he wouldn’t want to necessarily give up his busy, but enjoyable schedule for it all.
“I love driving in the TUDOR Championship against the other teams and cars and the way racing works [in America],” Tandy said.
“Even if sometime later I was to be on another program, I’d request to be the extra driver to come in for the enduros and stuff like that.
“There’s aims for satisfaction of achievement and there’s also aims for the enjoyment of your racing.”