Tandy, Sims Didn’t Hesitate to Join GTLM Team
By Jeff Olson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Nick Tandy had been racing for Porsche’s factory team for seven years. When the program left the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans (GTLM) class at the end of the 2020 season, he found himself out of work.
Fortunately, unemployment was only temporary. When Corvette Racing asked him to join their team, Tandy didn’t hesitate to say yes.
"It was an easy decision to make," he said. "Yes, I loved my family at CORE (autosport) and Porsche, but at the end of the day there was no option to go racing in GTLM and IMSA, which has been my favorite race series and my favorite racing across the globe over the last 15 years."
Tandy will team with Tommy Milner as full-time drivers of the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. They’ll be joined by Alexander Sims for endurance races, including the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31.
Milner, who has won 13 races in his nine years in the No. 4 Corvette, is enthused about the new lineup.
"I’m excited about it," Milner said. "I’ve raced against those guys in GT for many years, and I know how tough they are as competitors. I’m happy I don’t have to race against them now and can race with them."
Tandy, who won 15 races in his seven years with Porsche in GTLM competition, replaces Oliver Gavin, whose 19-year run with Corvette Racing ended with the 2020 season-ending Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts in November.
Gavin announced Tuesday that he’ll be joining Vasser Sullivan Racing’s No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 for the Rolex 24 with full-season drivers Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz.
Official preparations for the Rolex 24 begin Jan. 22 with testing during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. A recent test in the C8.R went smoothly, Tandy said.
"The thing that pleased me most is how natural the C8.R felt straightaway," he said. "There are, of course, many nuances and bits and pieces on how to extract time and consistency out of the car and the tires on which Corvette Racing compete. It felt pretty comfortable and familiar after a day’s running. This was a big positive for me."
Sims spent the past two seasons competing with BMW i Andretti Motorsport in Formula E and raced with BMW Team RLL in the GTLM class in the WeatherTech Championship in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, the team finished second in the final standings with wins at Watkins Glen International, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and in the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Like Tandy, Sims didn’t need much time to consider Corvette’s offer.
"Ever since my participation in IMSA ended and going off to do Formula E, it was the single championship I was most driven to get back involved with," Sims said. "It absolutely was the top one that I’ve been involved in within GT racing that I’ve enjoyed. Competition-wise, the tracks, the format of racing, competitors – everything about it is just fantastic. The opportunity to drive with Corvette was something that took very little time to consider."
It’s likely to be a competitive campaign. Tandy has won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Nurburgring and the 24 Hours of Spa. The 15 IMSA victories on his résumé include the Rolex 24, the Twelve Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans. He’s also won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The No. 4 Corvette finished third in the GTLM standings in 2020, with the team’s No. 3 car taking the championship with Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, who return for 2021.
"We’re looking to equal that and getting some of the highlight race wins is a pretty big program goal – Daytona, Sebring and beyond that," Milner said. "We’re looking forward to getting the season going again and seeing how it all shakes out."
The Roar Before the Rolex 24 is scheduled for Jan 22-24 and concludes with the Motul Pole Award 100, a qualifying race to set the Rolex 24 starting order. Live coverage of the 59th Rolex 24 At Daytona begins on NBC at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Jan. 30.