Pither, Jacobson confirmed at PremiAir Racing

Garry Jacobson. Picture: Ross Gibb

Peter Xiberras has confirmed to Speedcafe.com that Chris Pither and Garry Jacobson will form its maiden Repco Supercars Championship driver line-up.

Following the acquisition of Team Sydney last week, and the fact that existing contracts remained tied to former owner Jonathon Webb, Xiberras found himself in a position of having two full-time seats to offer all of a sudden.

Matters were complicated by the fact Jacobson and fellow Team Sydney refugee Fabian Coulthard were left waiting for a release from their prior agreement which had been due to expire at the end of 2022.

But now Xiberras has settled on his drivers, namely the 2016 and 2018 Super2 Series title winners.

While Coulthard is a proven main game race winner from his stints at Brad Jones Racing and DJR Team Penske, Xiberras took a liking to just how “hungry” Pither and Jacobson are.

“Sometimes you have got to take a chance on people,” the PremiAir Racing boss explained to Speedcafe.com.

“Unfortunately we’re in that standoff sort of situation where I need people to take a chance on me, and I have got to take a chance on them.

“If I’d been in the game for 15 or 20 years and had all the records and all the knowledge and all the rest of it, it’s easy, but it’s like my drag racing. Seven years ago when I first got into Top Fuel, I knew nobody, I had nobody, I was a nobody.

“Now we’re national champions, we run national records, we’re the fastest car in history; there’s plenty of good things to write about. Now I can attract anyone in my sport because we have got all of the accolades.

“With this [i.e. Supercars], I see it that we are starting at the absolute bottom of the barrel and I have got a lot to prove, and sometimes you have got to take a chance on people.

“I just see these two guys as someone I want to take a chance on.”

Peter Xiberras

Xiberras already had a relationship with Jacobson, his hire business having taken naming rights on the #22 last year.

“With Garry, I was there last year. He’s a good style of a guy, comes from a really good family, just to me it was more about he’s a young kid and I want to give him a go and work with him,” said the 53-year-old.

“It’s honestly no more than that.

“With Chris, again, same thing, it’s a guy I met a couple of years ago, I get on with him well. I think the guy hasn’t had a decent go in the last couple of years and it has probably hurt his ambitions and his career.”

Both drivers will be on a short leash though, in the form of a one-year deal.

After an extended Super2 apprenticeship, Jacobson is entering his fourth straight Supercars Championship season (following campaigns with Kelly Racing, Matt Stone Racing and Team Sydney).

Pither first appeared in the main game in 2006, but has had just two full-time opportunities in all that period. A title winner in Australian and New Zealand V8 Utes competition, Pither memorably took a Supercars Championship pole position for Super Black Racing at Queensland Raceway in 2016.

Chris Pither

The 35-year-old Kiwi was Jacobson’s predecessor in the #22, securing the only top five race result achieved during the Team Sydney guise at Hidden Valley in 2020.

The news means Coulthard will have to settle for a co-drive this year.

The most obvious move would be to link up with Walkinshaw Andretti United, whose 2021 Bathurst 1000-winning co-driver Lee Holdsworth scored a full-time return for this season via Grove Racing.

PremiAir Racing is yet to announce who will engineer each car, as the Repco Newcastle 500 awaits in six weeks’ time.

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