Record updated 31-Mar-20
Garth Tander is a multiple-championship winning Australian motor racing driver competing in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship's Enduro Cup, co-driving the No. 97 Holden ZB Commodore for Triple Eight Race Engineering. He was the 2007 series champion for the HSV Dealer Team and is a three-time winner in Australia's most prestigious motor race, the Bathurst 1000.
When Garth was old enough, his father bought Garth his first Kart and he won his very first race. However there was only one other competitor! Garth started competing at interstate and international race meetings all across Australia. By the time he was 17 Garth had won seven Western Australian State Karting titles and one National title as well as a number of regional titles. After competing in Karts for almost 11 years, he enrolled at the Fastlane Racing Driver School in Western Australia, setting a new school lap record on his first day. In late 1995 Garth competed in 4 Formula Ford race meetings on a race-by-race lease deal with Fastlane Racing, winning the four race. A one-year contract was signed with Fastlane Racing for 1996 to compete a full season in the Western Australian title as well as a limited number of appearances in the Australian Championship. He took the 1996 Western Australian title comfortably and in National Championship races he showed that he had enough pace to run at the front. 1997 saw Garth and the Fastlane Racing Team take the next logical step and battle for the Australian Formula Ford Championship. With a limited budget he won 7 of the first 8 races which led to the neccessary sponsorship to be found from the Western Australian owned Bunnings Hardware. With the renewed finances he took the 1997 Australian Formula Ford Championship. During The Off Season Between 1997 and the start of the 1998 season Garth tested with Dick Johnson Racing in one of their Shell Helix Ford V8 Supercars, he also had the opportunity to test with the Holden Racing Team in their Young Lions V8 Supercar. Unsure of his program for 1998 a drive became available in the V8 Supercar category with Garry Rogers Motorsport. The step up in power took a little of getting used to however there were enough good races to be re-signed for the following year. At the start of 1999 he was on the podium in the first round and showed good car speed throughout the year finishing on the podium a number of times. At the end of the year he found himself in a five way fight for the V8 Supercar championship going into the final race at Bathurst. A DNF put paid to that when he got taken out by another car. The year 2000 saw Garth ready to go out and attack for the V8 Supercar championship. He won the first round, finished third in the second round and won the third round. He was taken out of the fourth round by another driver however the battle for the championship between Garth and Mark Skaife carried on all year with Skaife ending up with the title. Season 2001 was a much tougher year for Garth as the team grappled with the new VX Commodore. He ended the season in 10th place in the Championship with the highlight being a spectacular win in the Showcase event at the Indy meeting. In 2002, Garth drove much better than his 10th place in the Championship suggests. In the early part of the season, he was on the money but had a few things go against him. He was as competitive as many of the top drivers in the middle of the season including a season high of finishing third in the Queensland 500. The end of the season was not a highlight for GT as his car was plagued by mechanical problems that led to a run of DNF's. Years 2003 and 2004 followed with mixed results, good speed was mixed with mechanical issues that seemed to limit GT's push into the Championship's top ten. In 2005 he moved to a newly renamed team, the HSV Dealer Team (formerly K-Mart Racing Team) partnered with dual Bathurst winner Rick Kelly. After a slow start to the season, in the second half of the Championship, he scored more points than any other driver in the field. Tander was leading the V8 Supercar championship in 2006 after six rounds, but a disastrous round in Oran Park lost him the championship lead. The endurance races following were no better. Tander participated in a highly controversial driver swap with the Holden Racing Team which involved Todd Kelly coming to the HSV Dealer Team. Garth and co-driver Mark Skaife dominated the entire Sandown round until a broken steering problem destroyed the almost certain victory. At the next round at Bathurst, the car's clutch failed off the line and was hit from the rear by another car before the second turn on lap one. After a crushing end to his Bathurst 1000 campaign, Tander was visibly upset, probably realising that his run at the V8 Supercar title was all but over. The car had been near on fastest in every practice and qualifying session prior to the race on the Sunday. For the second year in a row Tander won the Symmons Plains round, winning two of the three races, even with engine troubles resulting in the car running on seven cylinders. During race one, someone rear-ended him from first to finish fourth with a few laps to go. Tander raced the #16 Toll HSV Commodore in 2007, and won the second round (held at Barbagallo Raceway in his home state of Western Australia), winning all three 50-lap races. He also repeated this at Queensland Raceway. This saw him take the points lead from his team mate Rick Kelly. Late in the season, Tander had a disappointment at Bathurst where brake issues forced his retirement, but at Surfers Paradise and Bahrain he scored solid points to take the lead in the championship back off Jamie Whincup. At the penultimate Symmons Plains round in Tasmania, Tander won the first race, before a slow pitstop in the second race dropped him to tenth. A clash with Steven Richards over second position broke his steering column, ending the third race prematurely. Tander claimed the 2007 V8 Supercars Championship, just two points ahead of Jamie Whincup with Craig Lowndes in third, and defending champ Rick Kelly in fourth. All four were in contention for the title in the Grand Finale. His round win at Philip Island also saw Holden secure the manufacturers title, and Toll HSV Dealer Team took the teams championship. In 2008 Tander moved to Holden Racing Team after three years at the HSV Dealer Team. Tander had a bad start to the season with a DNF in both races at the Clipsal 500, His first round win of 2008 came in New Zealand at the Hamilton 400, his second round win came at Winton in July, Tander and his team mate Mark Skaife won the first enduro at the L & H 500 at Philip Island and Tander was looking strong at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 but a slipping clutch spoilt a pole position start. 100 laps later his co-driver Mark Skaife crashed lightly into the wall coming up to Forrests Elbow, ending their chances of a win. Tander came third in the 2008 V8 Supercars Championship season behind Mark Winterbottom and series champion Jamie Whincup. Tander won the Bathurst 1000 twice in 2009 with Will Davison and in 2011 with Nick Percat. In 2013, with the introduction of the Car Of The Future, Holden Racing Team (along with all other teams competing with Holdens) changed over to the newer VF Commodore. This season gave Tander limited and inconsistent success. He managed to clock up 5 podium finishes, including a win at both Townsville and Phillip Island. He finished the 2013 Championship in 8th place. In 2015, Tander won the Enduro Cup driving with Warren Luff, despite not winning any of the endurance races. In 2016, Tander has slammed Jamie Whincup’s “pretty desperate” move that triggered a disastrous chain-reaction, sending the Holden Racing Team driver crashing into the wall and ending his 2016 hopes. Whincup was hit with a 15-second penalty for the driving infringement, while Volvo driver Scott McLaughlin was to face post-race investigation for dangerous re-entry. Tander, who was fourth and in pursuit of his second enduro win after his stunning victory at Sandown, said immediately after the incident he blamed Whincup for starting the chain reaction. Garth rejoined GRM at the start of the 2017 season. He spent two years with GRM but was unexpectedly dumped by the team just before the start of the 2019 season. Without a full time drive he was signed by Triple Eight Race Engineering to be a co-driver for the endurance races.
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