Garth Tander has been named as Shane van Gisbergen’s co-driver for the 2019 Supercars endurance races.
Three-time Bathurst 1000 winner Tander became available after Garry Rogers Motorsport opted not to renew Tander’s contract for 2019, effectively replacing him with New Zealander Richie Stanaway.
In the absence of a full-time Supercars drive for 2019, Tander has signed a two-year deal with Triple Eight Race Engineering to drive alongside van Gisbergen in the Bathurst 1000 and the Sandown 500 and Gold Coast 600 events.
With Tander joining van Gisbergen, and Craig Lowndes accompanying Jamie Whincup in the other Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore ZB, Triple Eight will go into the Supercars endurance season with arguably the best credentialed driver lineup.
“When the opportunity arose to join the team alongside Shane for the enduros it was clearly the best way for me to transition from a full-time driver to a co-driver in this next phase of my career,” Tander said.
“I’m really looking forward to joining the team, hopefully bringing some experience and speed along with me, but mostly looking forward to learning from my new team-mates, Shane, Jamie and Craig.
“Between Shane and I, we will have a ton of experience and plenty of determination to conquer not only Mount Panorama, but also the GC600 and Sandown.
“Whilst Shane and I haven’t shared the same car yet, we’ve been team-mates in Australian GT before, and already have a strong friendship and mutual respect. Ironically, it was Shane breathing down my neck when I won my last Supercars race at the Sandown 500 in 2016. I have always enjoyed racing against Shane, and the only downside I can see in this deal is that I don’t get to race against him on track anymore!”
Triple Eight had originally planned to retain van Gisbergen’s 2018 co-driver, Earl Bamber, but a clash of dates with Bamber’s factory Porsche schedule ruled out the former Le Mans winner returning to Bathurst this October.
Triple Eight Managing Director Roland Dane said that the decision as to Bamber’s replacement was easy.
“As soon as we heard that Garth would be taking a step back from full-time driving, it made sense to find out whether he had any plans for the enduros locked in yet. It’s happened very quickly, but we’re extremely happy to be welcoming him to the team.
“On paper it will be a very good partnership. Shane and Garth are a similar height, Garth is obviously very experienced in not just a Supercar but a Holden and they both know how to handle pressure when it matters the most. With Bathurst being the first enduro on this year’s calendar, we should be in a good position to come in as well prepared as possible.”