Catching up with notes from the Rolex 24 Hours revealed a notebook presumed lost and in it was the results from a highly enjoyable session hosted by Porsche who brought all of the factory drivers, and Porsche Juniors, on the Daytona grid together for a meet the media session.
Astonishingly this was the first time that the DSC Editor had ever met the latest addition to the Porsche factory roster Nick Tandy – Our paths had seldom crossed and when they did it seemed that Nick was either in the car or in a post session briefing.
We’ll put that right straight away then!
“This really is every racing drivers dream, to be employed to race by a factory with as fantastic a heritage, and as fantastic a race programme as Porsche – Wow!
So what turned you towards Endurance racing?
“As with so many aspiring drivers single seaters got very expensive and less and less accessible.
“I tried a Porsche Cup car and through that met Franz Konrad. To be blunt he took a chance on me and that’s what made the difference. He gave me the opportunity not only to race, but also to develop and that led to a couple of pretty good years in Porsche Supercup and Carrera Cup (Germany).
It was those performances with race wins and a title challenge in 2011 that went down to the wire against Rene Rast, that caught the eyes of the Porsche talent scouts – How then are you finding this, a relatively new discipline, in endurance racing?
“I’m enjoying it, it is a different discipline, or actually series of disciplines, the opportunity to compete in major Championships and races is a massive privilege.
“Whilst there are, of course compromises to make in a discipline where there’s the necessity to share a car, and the facilities that support it, that’s also a major strength. You get to share and learn from your team-mates, that’s something you almost never get in other forms of racing.”
Tandy impressed once again at Daytona, putting the Konrad car on pole before a failure put the car into the wall.
Richard Lietz meanwhile is anything but a new boy – 2013 will see him as a Porsche Factory Driver for the 6th consecutive year, and he’s proven his worth time and time again.
2013 will see him race in the VLN, at Sebring for Paul Miller Racing and in the full FIA WEC, for the first time with an official factory team entry with the crack Mathey team and a brand new evolution of the 911 RSR based this time on the new 991 road car.
“The WEC should be a great contest this year with high quality cars, teams and drivers. It is a huge privilege to be selected as part of the Porsche factory effort there.
“last year was very tough in a car that had a really tight window of opportunity to exploit the performance. It took us a while to realise that the car was extremely temperature sensitive – We saw it in particular at Interlagos where in cooler weather it was very fast, but as the temperature rose we were really struggling.
“There has been a lot of testing with the new car and we will have better downforce, an improved gearbox and gearshift.
“A lot of attention has also been paid to driver comfort and the seat position has been improved too, in part helped by a longer wheelbase from the 997.”