It’s a big day for Nick Tandy as his JTR squad come in too the final race of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB season with every opportunity to see ‘his’ driver Dino Zamperelli take the title.
The JTR squad are well used to title battles but this is their first in Porsche one-make competition, in their first season in Carrera Cup GB.
“The move from single seaters just made sense,” said Tandy at Brands Hatch on Friday, “When I was in F3 it made sense to concentrate the team’s efforts in that area but after a trying year in F4 last year and now with a long association with Porsche this is a good move. The key, as always, is to make the move when you can justify it commercially, the right customers, the right opportunities, before making the move, and the investment in the cars and the kit you need.”
It’s soon set to be a trio of current Porsche LMP1 factory drivers in Porsche customer team management with Timo Bernhard a key component in the Bernhard family-owned Team75Bernhard and Earl Bamber telling DSC just weeks ago about plans to start a Sepang-based Porsche one-make effort based around a race training school at the Malaysian circuit with potential for entry into the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup for customers.
Tandy though will not be limited to pit wall action at Brands Hatch, he’s also demonstrating a Porsche 919 Hybrid at the Kent circuit on both days of the meeting, the first time in over two decades the a top class sportscar has run at the circuit.
There are unlikely to be any records set though, the runs will count towards the test day limit if run with confidential Michelin tyres, the car set to run we believe without the hybrid system activated, either way though it’s a rare chance for a UK crowd to see the car in action.
So is there any chance that JTR might make another move, into GT endurance racing?
“It’s all customer led, the most likely addition to the programmes would be Supercup, same cars, same kit, it’s a route that a lot of teams take, particularly the German teams. To take the team to endurance racing is a big investment, in the kit, and the additional people required for pit stops etc. but if a customer wants us to look at it then of course we’ll do so.
“For now though I’m really enjoying racing in the UK, it’s my only chance to do it nowadays and, of course it has some real advantages, as well as being really competitive this year!”
Next week sees Tandy flying to Atlanta to return to the scene of his extraordinary 2015 triumph at Petit Le Mans, though a repeat of that result seems unlikely.
“It’s an awesome track with, of course, some great, memories for me and for the team. “
So is a return to IMSA a possibility for 2018 in the wake of the Porsche LMP1 team’s withdrawal from the FIA WEC?
“I simply don’t know. We’ll hear at the end of the year what they have in store.”
The hard-charging Brit though is, of course disappointed as the end of the 919 Hybrid programme approaches.
“Of course I’m disappointed. Mainly because the cars are awesome, a technical masterpiece and because the competition is disappearing. Yes there is a personal regret too that I am losing an opportunity to compete for a win again at Le Mans. It’s sad, but ultimately completely understandable.”
If you are in the UK you can watch the Carrera Cup GB finale later today live on ITV 4.