MotorSport Vision chief executive Jonathan Palmer has led the tributes to Joe Tandy, following the death of the JTR team leader at the age of 26.
Tandy was killed, along with his fiancee's brother, Luke Temple, when the car he was travelling in was involved in a collision with a box van near his home, leaving the British motorsport fraternity in a state of shock.
Palmer enjoyed a long relationship with Tandy, who worked for the PalmerSport company for a number of years and rose through the ranks from technician to chief mechanic by the age of 22.
He then went on to compete in the Formula Palmer Audi Championship in 2005 – taking the title in his first year of single-seater competition and securing a nomination for the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year award.
Tandy then formed his own team – Joe Tandy Racing – which now competes in Formula Ford and Formula Three.
"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," Palmer reflected. "Joe was an extraordinary person who had achieved an enormous amount in his tragically short life. I have no doubt he was destined to go on 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."
Having admitted that he was worried when Tandy revealed he planned to move into FPA – stating he 'couldn't bear to see him spend money I knew he didn't have' – Palmer said he was more than impressed with the way in which Tandy battled against the odds to put together his programme for the 2005 title-winning campaign having shown 'a maturity that belied his lack of experience' on track.
"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," Palmer continued. "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."