Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland – Profile of the Champion Nick Tandy
“Contesting the Porsche Makes Cup was the Best Decision I Ever Made”
Stuttgart – Nick Tandy is the new champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. In an exciting finale, third place was enough for the Konrad Motorsport driver from Great Britain to beat his toughest rival of the season, Sean Edwards (Deutsche Post by tolimit), to the trophy. Winning the title of Germany’s fastest one-make series is all the more impressive considering the extraordinary level of competition amongst the contenders. “A huge dream has come true for me,” said the new champion. “To contest the Porsche brand trophy series is the best decision I ever made. I was never this successful before in racing.” In the 22-year history of the championship, this marks only the second time that a non-German has won – and the first for a British citizen.
For 26-year-old Tandy, his title win in Hockenheim is quietly satisfying. It was here last year at the finale in the Motodrom that an accident in the first race lap shunted him out of contention for the championship. Despite a brilliant debut season with five victories from nine rounds, the shooting star of 2010 had to settle for vice-championship honours, whilst Nicolas Armindo (France, Hermes Attempto Racing) took home the title. And in the international Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup as well, René Rast came out on top with Tandy again finishing as runner-up.
Tandy took off into the new season as the favourite – and promptly fulfilled all expectations with victory at round one. “I drove away from the race in Hockenheim and knew that I would become champion this year,” he admits. “This might sound arrogant, but I was simply sure that I was strong enough.” What he faced, however, was a roller-coaster ride. At round two in Zandvoort everything was turned upside down. Tandy rolled his 911 in free practice and also received a penalty for driving too fast under yellow. The high-flyer from the previous year had to take up the race from the back of the field – to drive, as he says himself, “the race of my life”. On a circuit that is not known for its overtaking opportunities, the Briton passed one rival after another. After the flag, an ecstatic Tandy climbed the podium in third. “My car ran perfectly and I drove a faultless race,” he said. “It was crazy overtaking virtually all the competitors. In this case, third place felt much better than some of my victories.” The British specialist car magazine Autosport wrote as a headline: “Is this the new DTM star?”
Jaap van Lagen won the Spielberg race in torrential rain, with Tandy extending his lead with second place. He finished fourth on the Lausitzring, but remained at the top of the points’ table. “The championship has become much tougher compared to last year,” he declared. “The reason for this is that the level of performance has greatly increased. Moreover, in 2010 I learned that five wins in a season don’t automatically make you champion.”
Then comes the low point. As points’ leader, Tandy travels to the season highlight in the Eifel, where the Carrera World Cup is contested on a combination of the Grand Prix circuit and the Nordschleife. Over motivated, Tandy crashes after ten minutes, retires and slides down the ranks to sit third overall. Sean Edwards moves to the top of the table.
With a poorly set-up 911, he finds it almost impossible to stay on the track on the rained-out Norisring and wades his way to fifth. Is Tandy’s star fading? Edwards, in the meantime, celebrates his first Carrera Cup win as the ‘rainman’. At the second race in the Eifel, this time on the Grand Prix course, the table turns. While in the lead, Edwards’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup suffers a puncture in the final lap. Tandy, trailing him like a shadow, inherits victory and takes his place back at the top of the points. “I’ve had my share of bad luck this season,” he says almost defiantly. “Now lady luck has returned.”
With an immaculate drive to victory at the penultimate race in Oschersleben, the Briton further extends his lead. In heavy rain, his rival Edwards finishes fifth. Nick Tandy arrives at the finale with a twelve-point advantage, he posts the quickest time in both free practices – throwing down the gauntlet to his fellow compatriot. He clinches pole position and with third place secures the long-awaited championship title.
Fundamentally, the 2011 season is a mirror image of the new champion’s career, which didn’t take the usual route and is strongly influenced by British racing. “I’m not your normal kart kid,” he says. With his twin brother Joe, he honed his reflexes in the so-called ministocks – a Mini Cooper fitted with a type of bullbar – on small ovals. “It was just huge fun,” reminisces Tandy. “But after four years we were asked to leave the series, we were getting a little too wild.” Tandy then wins the competition for a single-seater class and enters the British Formula Ford Championship, which enjoys a cult status in the UK. In 2007, Tandy wins the world final of the series, gets a cockpit in the national Formula 3 and achieves a raft of successes – until a blow of fate hits him hard. In May 2009, his brother, who also competes in the Formula 3 team, dies in a traffic accident. Tandy’s career seems to stall.
Perhaps the exceptional talent would have sunk into oblivion if it weren’t for Franz Konrad. The long-standing team boss of the successful Porsche racing squad is known as a talent scout. In September 2009, he opens the way for the Briton to contest a Carrera Cup race. Tandy comes to Dijon with experience as a guest starter in the British Cup, qualifies in second in the rain and finishes second behind Jeroen Bleekemolen who was driving for the Konrad team in the Supercup. “I could have won then,” says Tandy. “But obviously I didn’t want to go for Jeroen.”
His gratitude to Franz Konrad is as real as the man himself. “Without Franz I would be off the radar today and I would be earning my money in my profession in automotive glass and with some second job in motorsport. I’m extremely thankful to him.” Tandy only stopped work as an automotive glass specialist in 2011. Last year when he wasn’t racing he still worked in his profession. And because he knows how, he helps his team when a windscreen needs changing.
Nick Tandy on…
… the competitiveness in the Carrera Cup Deutschland:
“Alongside the Supercup, the Carrera Cup is definitely the best and most popular national Porsche Cup. This year the competition was incredibly tough. Perhaps we were too good last year as a team. Compared to that, we seemed somehow clueless this year when things didn’t always run perfectly. But there were six different winners from the first six races in the Carrera Cup this season and that says volumes about the level of competition.”
… the accident at the Porsche World Cup on the Nürburgring:
“The low point of my year. My first thought when I stood beside my stranded car in the forest was ‘what a stupid idea to come to the Nürburgring’. Then I berated myself: What an idiot! The accident cost me the points’ lead in the Carrera Cup and the Supercup. That meant a lot of prize money went down the drain, and we really needed it because our budget for the season was really tight. Financially, we just made it from weekend to weekend.”
… his rival from last year Nicolas Armindo:
“I was mostly affected by how much bad luck Nicolas experienced as reigning champion this season. I tried to imagine how I would feel if it had happened to me – a horrible thought!”
… his dreams:
“I’m convinced that the bosses in the series above the Carrera Cup and Supercup of the Porsche one-make series are watching and I’m sure that they know I’ve done a great job here. Perhaps someone will notice me. My big dream would be to drive NASCAR. Even as a small boy I watched TV and dreamed of oval racing in the USA.”
… his long-time partner Brittany McKenzie:
“I’d be nothing without Brittany. We’ve known each other since I was seven and we’ve been together for almost six years. Without her I’d probably not make it to the circuits, I’d not catch my planes and I’d be sleeping in a truck rather than a hotel. Brittany organises almost all my motorsport life.”
… his basic principle in competition:
“I love a challenge and that also crosses over into my hobbies. I love to play darts or golf and I play both particularly well when it’s a competition and I have to beat an opponent. Hobbies or sports without any real competition is not for me. I’m ambitious. I’d be happy to manage a round of golf in 82.”