Tander: We have the package to conquer Bathurst

Garth Tander

Garth Tander

Garth Tander is confident the Holden Racing Team has all the ingredients needed to win the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 12 months after missing the start for The Great Race.

The 38-year-old heads into next weekend’s Mount Panorama classic with renewed hope following a strong run to fourth position at the Sandown 500 last month.

Already a three-time Bathurst 1000 winner, Tander is hungrier than ever for success at the mountain after being forced to sit on the sidelines last year.

The Western Australian and co-driver Warren Luff were ruled out of the event when the latter suffered a brake failure heading into Griffins Bend during practice, which resulted in a huge shunt that rendered the car unrepairable for the race.

Remarkably, the duo head back to Bathurst in the same chassis that was crashed 12 months ago, with a full rebuild undertaken before it was pressed back into service in August.

Tander will pilot a special Star Wars liveried HRT Commodore at  the mountain

Tander will pilot a special Star Wars liveried HRT Commodore at the mountain

Although the events of 2014 remain fresh in his mind, Tander’s gaze is firmly fixed on this year with the 2007 V8 Supercars champion boosted by his team’s recent performances in race trim.

“I think we have got the package to win the race,” Tander, who won the Great Race in 2000, 2009 and 2011, told Speedcafe.com.

“I think in the last third of the race at Sandown we were as fast as anyone out there so as long as we can get ourselves into a position to capitalise on that then I think we do have the package to win the race.

“Obviously it was hugely disappointing not to be a part of the event last year sitting there watching the event unfold with how crazy it was.

“But everyone has got a Bathurst story as far as heartache goes and we are not focussed on last year now.

“We want to make sure we have a fast comfortable car for the last hour and a half come Sunday, and if we can do that then we will be in the game.”

While his run to fourth at Sandown has given him belief in his Commodore’s capabilities, Tander says the strength of his team will play a decisive factor in the outcome of the race.

The HRT ace has praised his crew’s ability to extract the most from opportunities in races when battling with a car lacking outright speed.

“Most importantly we have the team to win the race,” added Tander.

“Our guys this year when we haven’t had the fastest car have executed the races extremely well and got us into positions that we probably shouldn’t have been in.

“The way they execute the race and call it from the pit wall is exceptional and that is something you definitely need at Bathurst.

“I’m pretty confident we have the tools we need.”

The Holden Racing Team is meanwhile yet to confirm the driver line-up in its second car, with Russell Ingall on standby to again substitute for James Courtney should the 2010 champion be deemed unfit to drive.

Should he be pressed into service as expected, Ingall’s 24th Bathurst start will come 20 years after his first win, which was achieved alongside current HRT co-driver Jack Perkins’ father Larry.

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