Nick Tandy said Porsche’s third successive GTLM class win at the Sebring 12 Hours was tinged with sadness knowing it was the marque’s final outing in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.
Tandy, Fred Makowiecki and Earl Bamber led a Porsche 1-2 on Saturday in their #911 911 RSR-19 ahead of the sister #912 car that Bamber also drove with Laurens Vanthoor and GTE debutante Neel Jani.
It marked the third win in a row for the outgoing Weissach marque, which also racked up wins at Petit Le Mans and in the last round at Laguna Seca, although it was not enough to prevent Corvette from sealing the manufacturers’ championship.
Tandy took the lead after a tangle between the GTLM-leading BMW of Connor De Phillippi and Lawson Aschenbach’s GTD Mercedes, and held it to the finish to beat the #912 Porsche by 9s for his Sebring hat-trick with Makowiecki.
However, the Brit was in a conflicted mood after the race having raced with the CORE Autosport-run Porsche team in IMSA since 2014, scoring 13 of its 21 wins.
These include the first race following the unification of the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am, the 2014 Daytona 24 Hours, and outright honours at Petit Le Mans in 2015.
“Our third straight win at Sebring, plus a double victory for Porsche – at the last outing of our works team no less. It doesn’t get better than that,” said Tandy, who helped Patrick Pilet to claim the 2015 drivers title for Porsche.
“Despite all the rejoicing, I feel very sad at the same time.
“We’ve scored so many incredible victories over the past few years and I’ve grown very close to the team.”
Porsche’s Head of Operations for IMSA Steffen Hoellwarth admitted that the “mood was different than usual” in the camp ahead of its final race.
“I’m incredibly proud of the team, this weekend wasn’t easy for us,” he said.
“Because of the upcoming farewell, the mood was different than usual, but everyone coped just fine.
“We weren’t the fastest in the field, but we were the ones who made the least mistakes – and that’s how things like this happen.”
Autosport has produced a standalone special magazine to celebrate our 70th birthday. All current print subscribers will receive a copy for free. To pre-order your copy of the 196-page Autosport 70th Anniversary issue, please go to: autosport.com/autosport70th