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Joe Tandy: 1983-2009

15 May 2009

Tributes have been paid to Joe Tandy following his death in a road traffic accident at the age of 26.

Tandy won the Formula Palmer Audi title in 2005 before forming his own team – JTR – to compete in Formula Ford, with the team also expanded into British Formula Three last season and quickly establishing itself as one of its leading outfits despite the smaller resources of many of its rivals.

His fiancee's brother, Luke Temple, also died in the incident.

A Facebook page in Tandy's memory has been set up and can be found by clicking HERE, while what follows are some of the tributes made from figures within the sport.

Joe Tandy Racing:
"Joe's loss is an immense blow for the team and, it goes without saying, for his family and many friends. All we wish to communicate at this stage is our sense of loss, and our absolute determination to move forward with both the JTR Formula 3 and Formula Ford teams, exactly as Joe would have wanted."

Bernadette Fitzsimons, on behalf of British F3 promoters SRO:
"Joe's death has left everyone involved with F3 in Britain in a deep state of shock. He was an extremely popular guy and the paddock will be a poorer place without him and his great sense of humour. He was a credit to his family, his team and to motorsport in general and they have all lost a very fine young man. Our thoughts are with Joe's fiancée Sophie, brother Nick and all his family, friends and colleagues."

Sam Roach, on behalf of the MSA Formula Ford Championship of GB:
"Joe was a talented, winning racer himself before he started JTR, and his enthusiasm and passion for the sport shone through everything he did. Everyone involved in Formula Ford in the UK feels his loss, none more so than me and my colleagues at RacingLine and Ford. Joe's family and friends have our deepest sympathies."

Jonathan Palmer, on behalf of PalmerSport and Formula Palmer Audi:
"Like his many friends at PalmerSport and Formula Palmer Audi, I was stunned and deeply saddened to hear that Joe Tandy lost his life in a road accident yesterday.

"Joe was quite an extraordinary person who had achieved an enormous amount in his tragically short life. I have no doubt he was destined to go on to do increasingly great things in motorsport and could quite likely have been running one of the leading Formula One teams in the years ahead.

"What I so admired about Joe is how he forged his way from humble beginnings through talent and determination, with good humour and his engaging personality, to make things happen for him and people around him.

"I first became aware of Joe when he was one of many mechanics on our PalmerSport corporate event programme at Bedford Autodrome and he soon achieved a certain notoriety by being the mechanic who was able to bring back the single seaters from the pits to the garage each evening at the greatest speed! Whenever he was chastised for it though he always had a cheeky grin and was suitably respectful and humble.

"During that time I became aware that he had a background in stock car racing and Mini racing but nevertheless was amazed when, for the 2005 season, the guys at Bedford Autodrome said that Joe Tandy wanted to come and race in Formula Palmer Audi! My initial reaction was that I couldn't bear to see him spend money that I knew he didn't have, knowing it was a world of difference to Mini racing. My scepticism that it would never happen proved to be unfounded when at the first race at Oulton Park he was indeed there as a last minute entry, having found the money to take part.

"It was quite an amazing day and I and so many others were shocked and thrilled to see Joe take a staggering third place in his first ever single seater race. If that wasn't impressive enough he went on to win the second race of the double header! In just one weekend he'd well and truly arrived and gained an extraordinary amount of respect from all of us in Formula Palmer Audi and of course he was the complete hero of all the mechanics!

"His fairytale single seater ascent continued and despite lurching from race to race with last minute entries when he managed to find the money, Joe, through the fantastic support of his parents and everybody around him, managed to complete the season. He was frequently driving in a different car from the one he had driven the time before, as he was often a late entry and he would drive whatever car happened to be available.

"He proved to be not just a great racer but canny at setting up his car: he drove with a maturity that belied his lack of experience, and was a hugely popular champion at the end of the year.

"Joe tried hard to move to Formula 3 but recognised in reality that he was unlikely to have the funds at his age to make it work, so sensibly moved on to team management giving his younger - and potentially even more talented - brother, Nick, a really competitive opportunity.

"From his initial Formula Ford success I really admired what Joe achieved with his Joe Tandy Racing (JTR) team and as ever, without the funds to do the job in the way many people would call 'properly' by buying a Dallara Joe was resourceful enough to work on a deal with Mygale. He then had the tenacity to make a relative uncompetitive car into what has to be one of the success stories of Formula 3 in 2009 in the hands of Nick, who's currently running second in the championship.

"Joe's death is going to leave an enormous hole in the lives of those around him, first and foremost of course his doting and supportive family and partner Sophie, whose swings of emotion I witnessed many times with the euphoria when he won and the disappointment when he didn't. It's going to be extremely hard for them all and especially for his brother Nick but I very much hope that between Nick's talent and Joe's determination and expertise with his own team that both JTR and Nick can go on and have big futures in motorsport.

"In many ways Joe's motor-racing life was the most extraordinary fairytale. He was a mechanic who believed he could be a single seater racer and, despite the lack of any significant family wealth, he managed to raise enough money to race an FPA car that he'd watched others in. Not only did he race it but he won the championship and then went on to great things with his own team. It's just so tragic that the fairytale has ended so prematurely.

"Our deepest sympathies go out to Nick, his parents, Sophie and the rest of Joe's family and friends."

Mini Se7en Racing Club:

Joe, along with brother Nick, raced in Mini Se7en's before moving to single seaters, winning the 2005 Formula Palmer Audi Championship in his first year.

He then turned his attentions to team management, setting up Joe Tandy Racing to run brother Nick in Formula Ford, who promptly won on the teams debut at Thruxton in 2006. In 2008 JTR progressed to British F3, capturing podium finishes in the world's most competitive Formula 3 Championship and in 2009 JTR have already become regular front runners, with Nick smashing the F3 lap record on the full Silverstone GP circuit at the start of May.

The entire Mini 7 Racing Club would like to offer Nick, Joe's fiancée Sophie and the entire Tandy family their deeepest sympathies at this time.


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