Last time he raced in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, Nick Tandy won.
That, of course, was a different time and a different team. Now, nearly two years since that victory with the Porsche GT Team, Tandy returns to Watkins Glen International this week with Corvette Racing, a group with which he’s grown accustomed.
“Every time we’ve gone to the racetrack, it’s gotten better and better,” Tandy said of his third official race with Corvette. “I feel like when we go racing now, it’s my new family.”
While the equipment is different from the Porsche 911 RSR-19 he drove to victory in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in 2019, Tandy is more than familiar with The Glen’s 11-turn, 3.4-mile layout.
The year away from The Glen only makes him more ambitious to return.
“From a competition point of view, (the year off) isn’t really an issue,” Tandy said. “I see it more from the sporting point of it that we missed.
It is the fact that we did miss out on racing against other great cars on this great circuit.
Of course, there are people we see at Watkins Glen that we don’t see anywhere else on the IMSA circuit.
I think from a purely competitive point of view, missing a year doesn’t affect anything from a sporting side. It just makes us more eager to go back.”
Last time Tandy raced at WGI, the sporting side was just fine for both his present and future teams.
Antonio Garcia won the pole position in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R co-driven with Jan Magnussen, then dueled with Tandy and his co-driver, Patrick Pilet, for the race win.
This time, Tandy will team with Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette C8.R.
Garcia, back in the points-leading No. 3 Corvette this weekend with co-driver Jordan Taylor, won at WGI in 2014 and scored poles in 2015 and 2019. A year away because of COVID restrictions was one year too many.
“I really miss that racetrack both the event and the racetrack itself,” Garcia said. “It’s really, really nice to drive, The Glen is one of my favorite events.
Every time I’m there, I really like the event and the whole atmosphere with all the race fans from around the area.”
Tandy remembers the most recent visit for its battle with his future team and future teammate.
“I remember the last time we were there,” Tandy said. “It basically came down to a fight with my car and this other chap next to me (Garcia) on the video in a yellow Corvette.
I’m kind of hoping it will come down to that again, that it’s the two Corvettes out front fighting it out for the last couple of hours.
Whenever you drive a fast car around Watkins Glen, it’s always a pleasure.”
While Watkins Glen will be the third points-paying race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the GTLM class, Corvette had a chance to stay fresh with a non-points run June 12 in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit.
“I had been waiting to do that for a long time,” Garcia said. “I have been to Detroit several times, and I always watched the IndyCar race from Belle Isle.
I never had a chance to race there.
We only had to fight the other Corvette, but it was still a good fight. It was a good event and good preparation for the summer for Corvette Racing.”
Moving from one team to another has its challenges.
The differences between the Porsche and the Corvette were fairly simple to sort out, Tandy said. The more complicated aspect was fitting into a different organization.
“The hardest thing for me was to try to find my place,” he said. “How I can integrate into the team and find out what my role as a driver should be and how I can best make my role as a driver help the team move forward.”
All five WeatherTech Championship classes will be in action this weekend, with practice on Friday and qualifying Saturday (live stream at 11:45 a.m. ET on IMSA.com). Live coverage of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen which is also the third leg of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup begins at 10:40 a.m. Sunday on NBC Sports Gold’s TrackPass. The NBCSN telecast airs at 7 p.m. Sunday.