Nick Tandy said his and co-driver Maxime Martin’s run in the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa was “hard work” after having to complete the majority of the race as a pairing.
The 2020 race winner and Martin drove the final 13.5 hours after Laurens Vanthoor was sidelined with injuries following an accident with a quad all-terrain vehicle in the paddock.
Vanthoor completed less than four hours in the No. 47 KCMG Porsche 911 GT3 R prior to his accident where he was treated at a local hospital with facial cuts and a broken nose.
Tandy and Martin drove to a fifth place finish, ending up as the highest-placed Porsche in the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season-opener.
“You plan these kind of races,” Tandy told Sportscar365. “You might do a ten-hour race with two drivers but you’re going to do it before you start.
“When we found out Laurens couldn’t join us, I was already in the car and Maxime was due to have a good break in the middle of the night.
“It got sprung that the pair of us that we’d have to do the last 13-and-a-half hours.
“From that point of view, it was hard work, I must admit.
“If you do three hours of Spa, it’s pretty intense. It’s not like doing three hours at Le Mans, which you get a lot of resting with the time on the straights and stuff.
“I think primarily we’re just really pleased to get a decent finish because we didn’t have a good run up to the race and we had a few issues at the start.”
Tandy, who logged 10 hours and 17 minutes in the car, said it was an “emotional and physically demanding” race after bouncing back from early race issues that put them two laps down.
“We had a fuel-related issue,” he explained. “Then we had a puncture that cost us another lap. Then we had another puncture.
“We managed to get back to the pit with about half a bar left in the tire, so that was super lucky as well.
“From that point we were two laps down.
“To get back into the top-five after that I think is a pretty good achievement.”
Tandy said the most challenging part wasn’t the driving itself but the lack of downtime between stints.
“The good thing is when you get in the car or even stand in the pit lane waiting for the car to come down, you might be sitting here in the box for an hour falling asleep thinking, ‘Do I need to eat? Do I need to sleep?’ It’s all a bit strange,” he said.
“But as soon as you put your helmet on and stand in the pit lane and the car comes down, it all changes, especially when you sit in the car.
“The adrenaline takes over and the natural reactions is just to go and fight against other people.
“Once you’re driving, it’s absolutely fine. It’s the bits afterwards and the recovery time [that hurts].”
Tandy: KCMG Porsche “Came Alive” in the Night
While struggling in the daytime hours, Tandy said the Hong Kong-flagged team “couldn’t believe” the pace they had in the night.
“The car seemed to really come alive in the middle of the night,” he said. “We were really competitive.
“We got our technical pit stop done as soon as possible under yellow and didn’t lose a lap. Then we gained when other people did theirs.
“It shows why the Porsche cars had been struggling a little bit this week compared to previous years.
“In the hot of day we weren’t that great against the other cars. We’ve got some extra weight on board and this sort of stuff which doesn’t help.
“But the temperature seemed to affect the tire this year more than any of us expected.
“When the temperatures dropped in the night, our car became a completely different thing. It became the car I expected as such for this weekend, something we never found during practice or qualifying.”
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report