Garth Tander's career has come full circle, returning to the team which gave him his V8 Supercars debut two decades ago and extending his record as Holden's most loyal driver.
V8X Supercar Magazine speaks to Tander about his return to Garry Rogers Motorsport in 2017 in issue #98.
Issue #98 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.
CLICK HERE for more information on issue #98.
Tander is a rarity in Supercars, a one-manufacturer loyalist who has essentially only driven for two teams in a career approaching 20 years long.
Tander has more round starts in a Holden than any other driver in Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars history. But that run could've come to an end in 2017, on his return to the team that gave him his break in the series back in 1998.
Indeed, the first images of Tander back at Garry Rogers Motorsport show the multiple Bathurst 1000 winner and former champion wearing a 'Volvo' shirt next to the team's Volvo S60 Supercar.
It wasn't Tander's first flirtation with another manufacturer. He first tested a V8 Supercar in an ex-Glenn Seton Racing Falcon at his home circuit of Barbagallo Raceway in 1997. And as a reward for his success in Formula Ford that same year, he was invited to test a Dick Johnson Racing Falcon at Mallala Motor Sport Park. But he hasn't raced anything other than a Commodore in Supercars. And that hasn't changed in 2017.
The complications over whether Garry Rogers' team would be able to use the S60 Supercars followed the Swedish manufacturer's sudden withdrawal from the team back in May 2016.
While Garry Rogers Motorsport was left scrambling in the courts to retain the rights to its S60s, Walkinshaw Racing was about to lose its own factory-backed deal with Holden, further clouding long-time driver Tander's future with the team.
Just a few weeks after losing the Holden-funded deal to Triple Eight Race Engineering for 2017, Walkinshaw Racing bounced back with Tander and co-driver Warren Luff winning the Sandown 500.
But it wasn't enough for the team to retain Tander for another season. With Garry Rogers Motorsport's Scott McLaughlin moving to DJR Team Penske, Walkinshaw Racing recruited DJR Team Penske refugee Scott Pye. Tander's future now appeared to rest on his former team. And its legal wrangling with Volvo.
"I was fully comfortable with what was going on," admits Tander.
"Obviously talking with Garry, things were very, very comfortable. We've remained quite close friends in the period that I've been away from the team. It's actually been quite seamless, to be honest. Just like pulling on an old pair of runners, it feels comfortable and you just start running."
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