Redbull Holden Racing’s Bathurst 1000 team Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander. Picture: Tim Hunter
Redbull Holden Racing’s Bathurst 1000 team Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander. Picture: Tim Hunter

Sacking could gift Tander Bathurst crown

GETTING sacked could deliver Garth Tander a remarkable Bathurst 1000 win in the ultimate sporting silver lining for the Holden legend.

"What happened in January was disappointing,'' Tander said about losing his full-time drive with Garry Rogers Motorsport (GRM) at the beginning of the year.

"But I probably wouldn't be a chance of winning Bathurst if it didn't happen.''

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After James Golding and Richie Stanaway were announced as GRM's drivers, the Red Bull Holden Racing Team snapped up Tander for the endurance events.

"The silver lining was the opportunity to join this team,'' Tander said.

"I wouldn't have been at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team if it didn't happen.

"If you can't be driving full-time, then you want to be in a car that is capable of winning endurance races and we certainly have that.''

Tander's forced 10-month V8 lay-off will end this month when he partners Shane van Gisbergen.

"It has been a different year for me,'' Tander said.

"Certainly a year I wasn't expecting when I went on holiday in December last year. It has been a tough year in some ways but it has also given me the opportunity to do some different things.

Tander’s last Bathurst 1000 victory was alongside Nick Percat.
Tander’s last Bathurst 1000 victory was alongside Nick Percat.

"I have done some TV work and some GT and TCR racing. I have kept myself busy and enjoyed the different stuff. But I would be lying if I said I hadn't been watching the ­Supercars race and thinking that I was still capable of doing the job.''

Tander knows he would have been a rank outsider had he continued with V8 battlers GRM but now has a shot at winning his fourth Bathurst title.

"It would be fantastic to win again,'' Tander said. "Being able to add to my tally was not something I thought was going to be a possibility a little while ago.

"It would be great to help Shane achieve his first win at Bathurst. He has pretty much achieved everything else, so being part of that story for Shane would be fantastic.''

As close as you’ll get to the real thing! Picture: Tim Hunter.
As close as you’ll get to the real thing! Picture: Tim Hunter.

Tander and van Gisbergen have been stuck in the sizeable shadow cast by their all-conquering Red Bull teammates Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.

Labelled the dream team, Whincup and Lowndes will be vying for their fourth title as teammates after being reunited as a V8 pair.

"I don't think any of that bothers us,'' Tander said.

The Bathurst 1000 begins with practice on October 10.