Porsche has confirmed that Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber will make their return to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition in next month’s Motul Petit Le Mans, completing the German manufacturer’s lineup in its pair of factory GT Le Mans class entries.
Tandy, who won the ten-hour Road Atlanta enduro overall with Patrick Pilet in 2015, will be reunited with the Frenchman in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR alongside Dirk Werner, with two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Bamber in the No. 912 Porsche with Gianmaria Bruni and Laurens Vanthoor.
Both drivers are currently in Porsche’s LMP1 program, which ends at the conclusion of this year, with FIA World Endurance Championship leader Bamber on the streak of three consecutive wins in the Porsche 919 Hybrid.
“We’re delighted to welcome two good old acquaintances to the Porsche GT Team for this classic,” said Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser “They won Le Mans outright and are very excited to be racing the new 911 RSR for the first time, particularly after playing a key role in its development.
“We couldn’t wish for better support in the fight for the prestigious North American Endurance Cup, which will be decided at Petit Le Mans.”
After having achieved success with the previous-generation rear-engined model, Bamber and Tandy will both make their debuts in Porsche’s new mid-engined 911 RSR.
“I can hardly wait to drive the 911 RSR again, especially at a great race like the Petit Le Mans,” Bamber said. “I’m also looking forward to working with the team.
“In the past, we’ve enjoyed a great and successful time together.”
Tandy added: “Clinching the first overall victory for Porsche at Petit Le Mans in 2015 and the first ever win for a GT car at this classic will always be one of the milestones in my career.
“By returning with the new 911 RSR, I’ve now fulfilled one of my greatest wishes.”
Full-Time Return to IMSA Possible
With the conclusion of the LMP1 program, both drivers have been linked to a full-time return to GT racing next year, likely in the WeatherTech Championship.
Walliser declined to comment but admitted Porsche will have a surplus of drivers next year for its expanded GT programs.
“It’s a very easy situation as I have the best drivers in the world, and a lot of drivers as well!” Walliser told Sportscar365.
Porsche LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl, meanwhile, confirmed that all six of its current LMP1 drivers have contracts through next year.
It’s understood Bruni, and most likely Vanthoor, are poised to move to Porsche’s WEC GTE-Pro effort next year, which would make way for the 2015 Le Mans-winning duo.