A glimpse into the potential of the Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden Commodores has Garth Tander confident the team can transform the cars into podium contenders.
The 40-year-old heads into this weekend’s Tyrepower Tasmania Super Sprint pleased at the progress his team has made in developing its newly built fleet of Commodores.
Having run Volvos S60s for the last three years, GRM has returned to Holden this season but has faced the prospect of understanding the latest aero package and its newly acquired Walkinshaw engines.
Just two events into the new season the car has shown signs of its potential in both qualifying and race trim.
Tander earned a spot in the Top 10 Shootout at the Clipsal 500, while team-mate James Moffat finished one of the Adelaide 250km heats inside the Top 10.
Progress continued at the non-championship Australian Grand Prix round with Tander scoring a fourth place finish in the second heat.
The former Walkinshaw Racing driver says GRM has made inroads in unlocking the secrets of its latest package, which he expects will continue at Symmons Plains.
“We still have a long way to go but it is very encouraging,” Tander told Speedcafe.com.
“The potential that is still in this car at this stage is really exciting.
“I think as a group we are starting to understand it.
“I think we made some steps forward at the Grand Prix after Clipsal, as far as speed goes and me getting comfortable in the car and that will continue on in Tassie this weekend.
“I think from a feel point of view we probably still haven’t got the car where we want it to be.
“There is a lot that this car does considerably better than my previous car and there is a lot that we still have to improve with this car to make it on-par with my previous car.
“So the fact that our speed at the moment is there is exciting because I think we can make it a fair bit better yet.
“I would be disappointed if we weren’t on the podium at some stage.”
Tander admits the team elected against focussing on anything Tasmania specific in regard to car development during the Australian Grand Prix.
Although, the 2007 champion says he feels his increased confidence on the brakes will be an asset this weekend.
“There wasn’t a lot of Tassie-thinking at the Grand Prix as it was simply more understanding, more getting a play book if you like for the car,” he added.
“We did work a fair bit on brake stuff in the lead-up to the Grand Prix and that worked really well.
“I feel really comfortable in the car under brakes now which is one area where I struggled at Clipsal and taking that down to Tassie is important with some pretty heavy braking zones down there.”
Tander will jump behind the wheel of the #33 GRM Commodore at Symmons Plains on Friday when opening practice begins at 1240 local time.