After impressing on his Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland debut with Konrad Motorsport, Nick Tandy was offered the chance to take on the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in the 2009 season ending race weekend in Abu Dhabi, where he finished on the podium again, leading on to a full time drive in both series for 2010.
Five wins and one podium in the German series saw Tandy become vice-champion, a task he repeated in the Formula 1 supporting Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in the same year with three wins and two podiums.
Tandy relished the opportunity to experience different circuits on the Supercup package, “It’s special to race on the tracks that you cannot go to normally, like Monaco and Abu Dhabi.” Tandy told The Checkered Flag. “Somewhere that you wouldn’t normally race in a European season, and of course the competition level makes it so special.
“You have a lot of the same level of driving talent that you compete against, but that means you have much less opportunity to get a good result.”
“So there is more pressure in the Supercup because you have less practice, you have less opportunity to put a qualifying time in, and you have less races to score points, so every mistake really hurts you. It taught me a lot about the pressure of having to compete for a serious championship.
Looking back at his time in the Supercup Tandy remembers the streets of Monte-Carlo fondly, “Monaco is a highlight, there is nowhere else like it in the world. I remember the first time I drove there and racing through the streets.
“It’s like driving a car flat out, as fast as you can, in a multi-storey car park, in and out of the pillars. It’s so demanding and challenging and you have to think about everything that’s happening all the time, there’s not a minute to rest.
“The cars, especially the Porsche’s, are wide, they are fast, and they are on the limit, so when you drive them in Monaco it’s a very different challenge to somewhere else, this is clear.
While Tandy has now moved on in his career and is a Porsche factory driver competing at the highest level of sports car racing, he still keeps in touch with his old boss Franz Konrad, “We are great friends, we had these two years together working, trying to compete against the other people in the championship, because it’s the same thing and you cannot buy a competitive advantage.
“Everyone has the same car, you have the same equipment, you have the same chance, so as a team, as people, you work together to try and beat everybody else, and this creates a great bond and a great atmosphere.
“That was eight years ago that we won the championship together, but every time I see Franz it’s like we are friends or like Father and Son, it was a special time in my life and these people will be my friends forever.”
Since 2013 Tandy has been a Porsche factory driver, taking on endurance races around the world, and while the Brit does miss the shorter sprint races, he fully understands the part they played on his route to international glory, including the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, plus victories in the FIA WEC and IMSA series.
“It’s a different way of going racing, and I miss the sprint racing somewhat, because you go for it 100% from lap one, whereas in endurance, especially 24 hour races, you can settle at the start and know there is a long race and need to keep the car in good condition.
“The sprint race format, especially with standing starts, everything builds into a big crescendo, there’s a lot of atmosphere and pressure that happens for the start and the first laps, so it’s something that I miss from sprint racing.
“You know, everybody being together at the race start, and knowing that you only have 12 laps or so to do a good job, I miss it because it’s different, but it’s what led to becoming a professional.
“I will always be very very happy that I kept phoning Mr Konrad time and time and time again, emails and everything until he finally gave in and said ok I’ll give you a test in my car, and since then I’ve never driven anything since but a Porsche.
This is part two of a three part feature interview with Nick Tandy, you can read the first part here. The third and final part is available here as the Porsche Factory driver talks about running the JTR squad in Porsche Carrera Cup GB.