2019 will mark seven years as a Porsche Factory driver for Nick Tandy, from humble beginnings in British short oval Stock Cars Championship back in 1996, the Brit worked his way up through the British Motorsport scene via the Mini Se7en Championship, which he won in 2003, before taking on a single-seater route through Formula Ford, Formula Audi and then Formula 3.
In 2008, while Tandy was competing in British Formula 3 he was given his first taste of Porsche machinery, with a guest race at Silverstone in the BTCC supporting Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
Against the likes of (2008 champion) Tim Harvey, Phil Quaife, Tim Bridgman, Michael Caine and other series regulars, Tandy put the Porsche on the front row in qualifying, only missing out by 0.032 seconds for pole position. He would go on to take victory on his sports car debut, recording the first of many wins under the Porsche banner.
After continuing along the Formula 3 route for most of 2009, Tandy was given the opportunity to compete in Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland with the Konrad Motorsport squad, finishing in second place on his debut with no prior testing.
Impressed with his performance, Franz Konrad would offer him the chance to compete in the final race of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season in Abu Dhabi and would once again take an impressive second place on the global stage.
Looking back at his first experiences of Porsche, Tandy reflects on his time in the Carrera Cup in Germany, “It was the start of my career really,” said the Brit. “For me it was hugely important, because when I started racing the Carrera Cup in Germany I haven’t raced anything but a Porsche since.”
While Tandy may have made the switch from single seaters to sports cars look easy, he admits that there was very little room for error.
“It’s all about the driver, to be competitive and to be successful, you need to do everything as a driver correctly, and this is why the successful people in the Carrera Cup go on to be very high level professional drivers; not just with Porsche but to go onto other manufacturers,
“You will see that the people who are successful in the Carrera Cup can drive any car, because everything is the same, the cars are the same, you can work with your teams yes, but in the end it comes down to who drives better than somebody else, and not who has done more testing with aerodynamic parts and things like this or who has a different chassis.
“Everyone has the same car, so whoever drives better, wins and everybody knows this. So to win, you need to focus everything on your driving Then you can take this into other areas of the sport, everybody that has been at this level and is trying to compete in Carrera Cup already has a very good skill set.”
Along with developing his driving skills, Tandy believes that the Carrera Cup is more relevant to fans over single-seater racing.
“The good thing about racing Porsche’s, is many people like the brand, they like the racing it’s something that people can relate to from a sponsorship side of things.
“It’s very different to driving a Formula car that has no relevance to somebody in the street, so it’s another way of presenting a business case to somebody to attract the funding needed to compete at a high level, which is what I found.
“It’s another branch of the sport that many people don’t think about when they are younger because it’s very much different to karting, unlike a Formula Car which is quite a familiar progression.
“You can see that nearly all of the current Porsche factory drivers started in the Carrera Cup, so it’s a clear indication of what can happen in the future.”
This is part one of a three part feature interview with Nick Tandy, in the second part the Porsche Factory driver talks about his Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup experience and becoming a works driver, read it here.