Tandy: Corvette “slightly more stable” than “edgy” Porsche
Tandy drove and won in Porsches from 2010 to 2020. Although he competed full-time in the WEC in 2017 in the 919 Prototype and won Le Mans in 2015, he spent most of his time in the 911s in the GT classes.
In the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Tandy drove the Porsche 911 RSR operated by CORE in autosport and achieved 13 victories in seven years, including a Rolex 24 Hours in Daytona, three Sebring 12 Hours and three Petit Le Mans - one of which was an overall victory.
With his move to Corvette Racing, Tandy is replacing the team's legend, Oliver Gavin, as Tommy Milner's full-time partner for the mid-engine Corvette C8.R's second competition season. The other entrant on the team, driven by Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, dominated the 2020 GT Le Mans Championship with five wins, while Milner / Gavin scored six wins for the C8.R in eleven races.
After a test at Sebring last month, Tandy says the car compares favorably with the Porsche 911 RSR-19 he drove last season.
"What pleased me most is how natural the C8.R immediately felt," he commented. “There are of course many nuances and details on how to get time and consistency out of the car and the tires on which Corvette Racing competes. It felt pretty comfortable and familiar after a day. That was very positive for me.
“There are minor differences [required in driving style]. The thing about the 911s that we had was the short wheelbase. As the cars got wider and wider and the team took advantage of the aero, a wide car with a short wheelbase makes a car nervous.
“This was one of the most pleasing aspects of getting started with the C8.R. It has a slightly longer wheelbase and is therefore a bit more stable in many places. This is just the basic architecture of the car. There are places where this gets in the way, but you look at the [BMW] M8, which has an even longer wheelbase.
“There are places where a short wheelbase helps - in Long Beach, for example. But it makes driving nervous at times.
“The Corvette was a breath of fresh air in some areas, to be honest. I'm looking forward to taking advantage of the consistency of how you can push the car and not constantly being at the limit and overcoming it.
"It's an endurance race machine and it was designed for one reason: to be consistent and to allow us as drivers to push as hard as possible and try to limit mistakes."
Tandy announced that he was working on the Chevrolet simulator but admitted he's impatient to hit the Daytona track in next week's Roar Before the 24 test.
"Ultimately, you can't get any better than keeping track of time," he said. “The good thing is that we have the roar test which is great. We have three days before we get into race week.
"One of the things that was introduced to me in Corvette Racing and Chevrolet is the driver in the loop simulator that we have in North Carolina. I've been there and will be back before the Daytona race. This is something to help you to get used to working with the race engineers, getting used to strategies, and getting used to different things that you can change in the car.
"Actually, you get used to the car - drive it and make it easy in Daytona to go 200 mph. It's just track time." The good thing is that we have to test in Daytona for five days before the 24 hours.
“Of course we have the qualifying race at the end of the Roar. Hopefully both Alexander [Sims - extra endurance driver in the # 4 Corvette this year] and I can do a few laps and work with Tommy to figure out how to get the best out of us all before we get 24 hours of training in the have races. "
Sims, who drove for the works BMW team in the IMSA GT Le Mans class for two years before switching to Formula E, was similarly positive about the Corvette C8.R - and IMSA in general.
"Since my participation in IMSA ended and I went into Formula E, it has been the only championship I've been concerned with the most," said Sims, who won three M6s in 2017 and two wins in 2018 with the M6 scored M8. "It was absolutely the best that I was involved in. In terms of the competition, the tracks, the format of the race, the competitors - everything about it is just fantastic."
“The opportunity to drive a Corvette took up very little time. After racing against them for a few years, you can see what level they work at as a team and what success they have had over the years. Joining and being a part of the program is a great honor ...
“The car made sense to me pretty quickly on the first laps at Sebring. On day 32 and a few more races it was really impressive how good the car was in so many different phases of the turn.
“As with all racing cars, a certain amount of adjustment is required here too. It wasn't a surprise because the car won so much last year, but it was good to check out my feel for the car. "
Milner, who was starting his tenth year at Corvette, welcomed his new teammates, noting that "both guys have been great so far from a pace and teammate perspective". However, he also stated that he and engineer Chuck Houghton had sought to improve the pace early in a race based on what they saw of the # 3 Corvette in 2020.
"Last year both Jordan and Antonio were very consistent," said the 34-year-old, who won the Le Mans 24 Hours twice, won the IMSA GT Championship twice and took a Rolex 24 Hours victory. “We saw a couple of times at the beginning of the races that they were pretty quick. So we're learning lessons from last year and working with our engineer to understand why that was.
“Now we're trying with Nick and the two of us together - plus Alex for the long races - to understand what these shortcomings were in some places, what they did differently and try to find our own way and secrets here and there with a few tricks . "
Milner also paid generous tribute to Corvette Racing's legendary program manager Doug Fehan, who retired during the off-season, but indicated that Fehan's credit should continue to make the team perform well.
"There have been some changes in the team, but from our side and from what we saw it wasn't a difference," said Milner. “Of course Doug should definitely be mentioned. He was on this program from the start and has played a huge role in Corvette Racing. His leadership and role on the team has been very evident for a long, long time.
“The team and Chevrolet have postponed their programs a bit and in some ways reorganized to get the racing side more involved in the tech industry. There are a lot of great people involved from the Corvette Racing side, the Chevrolet side, and the Pratt Miller side. That hasn't changed.
“There are a lot of people who make Corvette Racing, and obviously Doug has been a big part of it for a long, long time. It has left its mark in many ways. His experience and who he is as a person will definitely be missing on the track. But he left a great legacy and we can continue to drive the success on which this team was built and continue to do so in the future. "
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