Pither intent on 2022 Supercars return
Thursday 1st April, 2021 - 7:15am
Chris Pither is refusing to give up on his Supercars dream despite the latest setback thrown his way.
The popular Kiwi has kept a low profile since the effective confirmation that he would not retain a full-time drive for the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship.
That became certain in mid-January when Team Sydney announced Garry Jacobson for its second seat – the category’s last drive to be sorted.
Pither had competed for the new-look squad last year, a fine fifth-place finish in Darwin the highlight of a “character-building” season.
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It was not enough to prevent a tour back to the sidelines though, continuing what has been a stop-start journey for the 34-year-old.
“The team did a great job considering the circumstances… hopefully we were able to create a base that the team can build on for this year,” he told Speedcafe.com.
Pither first appeared in Supercars way back in 2006 for Team Kiwi Racing; since then he has won titles in both the Australian and New Zealand V8 Utes Series, plus the 2018 Super2 crown.
Just two full-time campaigns have eventuated, however, being 2016 at Super Black Racing, and last year.
Pither had been in talks with various teams about 2021 opportunities – including wildcard programmes, which he was later ruled to be ineligible for given he isn’t a Super2 driver from this year or last year.
Ultimately, he had to settle for a co-drive, returning to Brad Jones Racing where he has helped his long-time backer Coca-Cola maintain a full-time presence on the grid.
He will team up with Macauley Jones in the #96 Coca-Cola Commodore at the Bathurst 1000 in October before turning his attention to next season.
A third stint in the main game, he hopes, would be a multi-year arrangement to give him a real chance to show what he can do.
“I definitely feel like I have got unfinished business,” Pither declared.
“In reality, I have only had the two seasons full-time.
“It’s definitely still my desire, to have a good crack. I don’t feel like I have maximised my potential yet, and that comes from a consistent environment.
“When you look at many drivers out there, and especially the guys that are consistently at the pointy end, most of them have probably been in the championship for 10 or so years.
“I still feel like I have got plenty of years ahead of me, and I just want to try to find an opportunity where I can do at least two seasons with the same team, same car, same engineer, get some consistency so that I can really maximise my potential.
“I don’t feel like I have been able to do that yet, so definitely looking to be pursuing that for next season.
“But obviously at this point just focused on the year ahead and excited to rejoin BJR and be driving with Macauley for Bathurst and continuing the partnership with Coca-Cola.”
Pither has already this year had the opportunity to drive in various other categories, including the Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia 86 Series at Bathurst in February and the NSW Prod Sports/Super GT 4 Hour at Sydney Motorsport Park last month.
He shared a MARC II Mustang with Geoff Taunton at the latter.
“I love trying to work out the driving style for each different car, because you can nearly get too stuck driving the same thing and honing your style for one thing. I think it’s important to be adaptable,” he noted.