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Tander to make Aus GT return at Phillip Island

Tom Howard

Tuesday 16th May, 2017 - 6:00am

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The Audi R8 GT3 Garth Tander will drive at Phillip Island

Garth Tander will contest the opening round of the Australian Endurance Championship at Phillip Island later this month.

The Garry Rogers Motorsport driver will rejoin the Audi Customer Racing Australia squad, where he will pilot a Jamec Pem Racing R8 GT3 alongside Geoff Emery at the May 26-28 event.

Tander has become a familiar face at the Melbourne squad having made appearances for the operation at this year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and AEC rounds at Phillip Island, Hampton Downs and Highlands Park last season.

The 40-year-old Supercars star will fill in for factory Audi star and Australian GT regular Kelvin van der Linde, who is unable to race due to his Nurburgring 24 Hour commitments.

Tander enjoyed success at the Phillip Island Australian GT Championship round last year by earning pole position.

He finished 11th alongside car owner Steve McLaughlan after suffering from tyre issues in the three hour AEC championship opener at the Victorian venue.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Tander told Speedcafe.com.

“I haven’t driven the car since the Bathurst 12 Hour at the start of the year.

“We were really fast with the car at Phillip Island last year as we put it on pole.

“We had a really fast car but we had tyre dramas across the weekend so hopefully that is fixed with the tyre cupboards.

“Geoff (Emery) has done a great job so far this year. The Audi drivers can’t make it out this year due to the Nurburgring 24 Hour, so I’m glad to get a call up.”

Before jumping in the Audi, Tander will head to Winton this weekend for the fifth round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

The 2007 Supercars champion feels GRM is the best placed squad outside of DJR Team Penske, Triple Eight and Prodrive on current from and is hoping to build on a strong start to the season.

“Everyone is saying that Winton is our test track so we should go well there, but that’s not really the case because we haven’t tested a Commodore there for a long time,” he added.

“We have got work to do and we know that, but every weekend we run I feel we are getting closer to the mark.

“We are just continually understanding our mechanical grip balance versus the aero balance.

“Every weekend we make gains with that. I think we understood more about the car over the course of the Perth weekend.

“I think we are maximising our weekend by getting the most points we can with what is available to us.”

The Winton Super Sprint begins with opening practice on Friday.

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