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HomeNewsTander itching to finally join forces with Stanaway

Tander itching to finally join forces with Stanaway

BY Garth Tander’s own admission, he and Richie Stanaway have a “unique” dynamic.

The duo’s careers have been inadvertently intertwined in the past half-decade.

First, Tander’s full-time Supercars career was ended when Garry Rogers Motorsport cut him loose to make way for Stanaway (and associated Boost Mobile backing) in 2019.

Triple Eight turned to Stanaway to be van Gisbergen’s co-driver this year when Tander made a shock off-season departure to Grove Racing.

Next year, they’ll finally be in the same camp, Stanaway going full-time with Grove, where Tander is on a multi-year deal as a co-driver and mentor.

“It’s certainly quite unique, when you look at it that way, that we have sort of been chasing each other around the paddock for a while but never actually linked up,” Tander told V8 Sleuth.

“It’s a unique thing, there’s no two ways about it.

“Obviously he slid into GRM when I was shown the door and then obviously took up that opportunity with Shane as anyone would. And now coming to Grove, that’s a bit of a different deal obviously.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Richie directly because we have never actually crossed paths.

Richie Stanaway. Pic: Matthew Paul Photography

“And to be honest, other than saying ‘g’day’ and ‘hi, how are you’ in the paddock or in drivers’ briefings or things like that, I haven’t had a lot to do with Richie in the past, so I’m looking forward to getting to know him and working with him in the future.”

Tander has been pivotal in guiding rookie Matt Payne this season, and could soon be a key factor in unlocking Stanaway’s vast potential.

“Clearly there is an immense amount of talent there,” said Tander.

“You don’t win in GP3 and GP2 and be a factory sportscar driver in Europe if you’re no good.

“Even this year, some of the drives in the GT car for Triple Eight have been seriously impressive.

“So there’s no doubting the talent and I think Richie is fully aware of the opportunity that he has here with this team, so I’m looking forward to helping him in any way I can to maximise that opportunity.”

And just to be totally clear, when asked if there’s any hard feelings about the past, Tander declared: “Not at all. Not with Richie, that’s for sure.”

Coincidentally, Tander will co-drive in the 2023 enduros with the driver Stanaway is replacing, Team 18-bound David Reynolds.

READ OR DOWNLOAD BELOW: FREE SANDOWN 500 OFFICIAL PROGRAM

Reynolds/Tander and Chaz Mostert/Lee Holdsworth are the only combinations entering the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 with two Great Race-winning drivers sharing a car.

Tander warmed up for his first Supercars race in a Ford with a valuable hitout in Carrera Cup Australia last month at The Bend.

MORE: Tander talks Ford switch

The 46-year-old finished 10th, ninth and fourth in the three races, in what is a particularly stacked field this year.

“You can do all the test days in a Supercar that you want, you can do all the ride days, you can get all the miles you want driving a race car,” said Tander.

“Actually going racing and putting yourself in the middle of a really tough, competitive category, that’s the best way to prepare yourself so that’s what we did.

“I had the least amount of experience with that car out of anyone in the field, so jumped right in the deep end just to see where I was at and I was pretty happy with how it all panned out towards the end of the weekend.

“Very, very beneficial, that’s for sure.”

The Sandown 500 kicks off Friday.

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