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IMSA Long Beach

“Huge” first Porsche 963 win thanks to ‘rolling the dice’ – Tandy

Porsche’s maiden victory with its Porsche 963 LMDh prototype at Long Beach was thanks to rolling the dice on strategy due to its lack of pace, says race winner Nick Tandy.

#6 Team Penske Porsche 963: Nick Tandy, Mathieu Jaminet

Tandy, who shared the winning car with Mathieu Jaminet in the third round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship on the fabled Californian street circuit, admitted that the pace deficit to GTP class rivals Acura, Cadillac and BMW had led the Penske-run team to consider alternate strategies.

Tandy had managed to grab second place from sixth on the grid after a wild start, and then inherited the lead when the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06 pitted for new tires.

Aided by a slow driver change between Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor, during which the car had gone into neutral and wouldn’t refire for over 10s, Penske’s strategists acted on Tandy’s early feedback and gambled on sticking with the same Michelin tires throughout the 100-minute race.

After Tandy handed the 963 over to team-mate Jaminet, Taylor charged through the pack in a wild, contact-filled drive to challenge him for the win in the final laps, only to overshoot Turn 1 while attempting to pass the #6 car and plant his Acura into the barriers.

“To get the win and the double podium is massive,” said Tandy. “It’s huge. The effort that’s gone in, across the globe, to get four these Porsche Penske 963s out and racing [with two in IMSA and two in the World Endurance Championship] has been enormous.

“The season hadn’t started as we’d hoped, the competition is tough, and it’s no secret. To get some results, get some points and trophies, it’s amazing and testament to all the hard work from everyone.

“We knew from practice and qualifying that our pace wasn’t enough for us to win, so we came up with lots of options on how to work the strategy, and this is beauty of IMSA. In these sprint races, with one pitstop, there are lots of options you can play.”

#6 Team Penske Porsche 963: Nick Tandy, Mathieu Jaminet, #7 Team Penske Porsche 963: Matt Campbell, Felipe Nasr

#6 Team Penske Porsche 963: Nick Tandy, Mathieu Jaminet, #7 Team Penske Porsche 963: Matt Campbell, Felipe Nasr

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Explaining the thinking behind the no-tire strategy call, Tandy added: “Our idea was to gain from the tire warm-up issues that many teams have had this year, and we went with no [fresh] tires. What we did learn today was how that would end up in the final 40 minutes, we hadn’t run the tires this long before, so it was just guesswork.

“We had decent track position before we pitted, we rolled the dice and obviously saw what the #10 did [pitting for new tires] the lap before, and we went for it. And what a hell of job my buddy [Jaminet] did! And also Matt Campbell, driving the way he did [in the sister car] to hold off guys behind us for such a long time.

“It’s a team result, and it’s amazing.”

#6 Team Penske Porsche 963: Nick Tandy, Mathieu Jaminet

#6 Team Penske Porsche 963: Nick Tandy, Mathieu Jaminet

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

Former GT ace Jaminet scored his maiden prototype class victory but admitted he had to nurse his tires “with no rear grip at the end” and struggled to “keep it out of the wall”.

“Obviously he had fresher tires and I had traffic the lap before,” he said of Taylor’s challenge. “He closed me down, and as we came to Turn 1, I had already braked late, I saw him coming and I thought ‘OK, he’s gone for it, if he makes it stop I’ll be impressed’.

“I saw him lock up and he went straight in the fence. Luckily it worked out. We took the opportunity when it was there.”

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