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HomeNewsRipping Yarns: Tander’s shaky start at GRM

Ripping Yarns: Tander’s shaky start at GRM

V8 SLEUTH is celebrating the festive season with a series of great racing tales from the Motorsport News archives.

Today’s story was told by Garth Tander for the 400th edition of MN in 2010.

At the time I was getting into V8 Supercars, on the day I did my very first test with GRM, I slept in.

I was staying in Essendon, and I was still working for Brett (Lupton) at Fastlane. We were based at an airport hangar at Essendon Airport, so I was staying at a hotel in Essendon.

I was testing under the ‘We will give you a test and see how you go’ thing.

‘Shirl’ (team manager Kevin Shawyer) rang me to tee up a time, and he picked a good time to ring me up – while I was having dinner, at the pub.

He said, ‘I hope that you’re not on the drink!’ I said, ‘’Course not, I have a test to do tomorrow’.

So he told me he would pick me up at six, or whatever it was, and I told him what room I was in.

So I slept in, through the alarm, and the first thing I heard was the knock on the door.

You all know what it is like; panic comes over you, so I am running around like a maniac, showering, shaving and trying to look composed and not out of control.

Fifteen minutes later, I walked out the door, but I don’t know if I was fooling anyone. Shirl and Mike Exell were there, saying, ‘You weren’t on the piss, then?’

I thought that I was done and dusted. I made a bad impression straight-up, and the last run of the test, the throttle jammed at the sweeper, at Winton.

Tander explores the outfield during his ATCC debut at Phillip Island. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

I went straight on, ended up almost at the back straight and I had torn the front bar off it. I thought, ‘Terrible. That’s that, it’s over!’

I told them that the throttle jammed and they said that it was not jammed, they thought that the car went off because I was trying too hard.

As it turned out, the throttle had jammed, so I was OK. It was a pretty eventful first day as a V8 Supercar driver!

I went and had a meeting with Garry Rogers the next day. He said, ‘Despite all that, we think that there is something there so we will give you a run.’

So he did, and I raced at Phillip Island the next weekend.

MORE: Garth Tander on the V8 Sleuth Podcast

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