Having secured an unlikely victory at last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche’s Nick Tandy writes exclusively for Mobil 1 The Grid as he sets about defending the crown for Porsche, this time in the highly-competitive GT-Pro category.
Le Mans is all about the challenge of the race.
It’s such a tough contest. You know how much goes into winning here, and the challenge of the event is what makes it so special.
There are so many people involved, all of whom have sweated night and day to give the team the best chance of winning this event. It’s the knowledge of that effort that makes it such a special weekend.
Last year was incredible. I remember waiting in the garage as Nico [Hulkenberg] crossed the line.
I can honestly say that it was one of the toughest points I’ve ever had in motorsport. The race was in the bag; we had enough of a lead but we were just waiting for something to go wrong. It was really a tough time. I couldn’t watch.
When we started the last lap, I knew we could get back on electric power or engine power. And that’s when it sunk in. To finally watch the car crossing the line was the most emotional point I’ve ever had in my motorsport career.
I have to say, it feels a little different coming back this year. With everything that happened last year, I suppose that was always going to be the case.
Le Mans is such a special event to come to. It’s a genuinely special place. To drive through the gates into the circuit is a special feeling for any driver. But with everything that happened last year, and to know you’re coming back as a past winner, for Earl [Bamber] and myself, it really is a place and an event that will stick with us forever.
Arriving this year, there were definitely some emotions. But it’s great to be back. And, in particular, it’s great to be here as the defending champions.
Obviously this year we’re racing in GT-Pro, so it’s a different setup from what we had last year. I’m not sure how many people have won back-to-back titles in two separate classes at Le Mans, so that’s definitely the goal.
It’s going to be incredibly tough. There’s a huge amount of competition in GT this year, with new manufacturers, old manufacturers and an overall group of very good competitors who we know well and have been competing against for many years.
But I’m looking forward to the challenge. The best races when you win are the ones that are the hardest to accomplish, so I’m looking forward to a good bit of competition on Saturday and Sunday.
Nick Tandy was writing exclusively for Mobil 1 The Grid. For more from Nick and Porsche Motorsport, follow Porsche on Twitter (@PorscheRaces) and visit www.porsche.com/motorsport.