Tander: Reduced enduro season ‘unfair’
Saturday 20th August, 2022 - 9:49am
Garth Tander believes the current Repco Supercars Championship enduro format lends a ‘massive advantage’ to the more experienced co-drivers.
What has usually been a three-event enduro season has been reduced in recent years to a single two-driver long distance race, the Bathurst 1000.
The Mount Panorama enduro has historically been preceded by a 500km race at Sandown, with a Gold Coast street race making up the final third of what was known as the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
To reduce costs during the COVID-19 pandemic, enduro season was minimised to just Bathurst.
A flow-on effect is the lessened seat time for co-drivers, who (notwithstanding sponsor ride days) are limited to three test days and a 30-minute additional drivers practice session at the Sandown SuperSprint this year prior to the Great Race.
Tander, who will partner Shane van Gisbergen at Triple Eight Race Engineering , says the lack of pre-Bathurst running is unfair on the less experienced drivers.
His comments came in the post-practice press conference at Sandown on Friday, where he was joined by fellow co-drivers Jamie Whincup and Fabian Coulthard.
“For the other co-drivers that don’t have the experience…having a 500km race prior to Bathurst is important,” said Tander.
“We all three drivers [also referring to Whincup and Coulthard] all sat up here and spoke about how we contributed to developing the race car today.
“We didn’t spend any time getting comfortable in the race car, we just got on with the job of trying to make the main drivers’ race cars faster for this weekend.
“So that’s a massive advantage that we have over the inexperienced co-drivers.
“I think giving those co-drivers that are racing the Dunlop [Super2] Series — your Cam Hills, or your Declan Frasers, or your Tyler Everinghams — a chance to do a 500km race prior to Bathurst…that was always a curtain raiser.
“And I think I really think it should come back, because I think it’s incredibly unfair; we have a massive advantage going to Bathurst given our experience.”
Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert agreed and said it feels ‘weird’ not having an endurance race at Sandown.
“I think these co-driver sessions are always exciting when you see your car go out there,” he said of Friday’s dedicated co-driver practice session.
“But it’s [a] weird vibe this weekend, because there’s no 500.
“I think the last couple of years we’ve just had the one enduro…it’s not my favourite time of year.
“I like the three enduro rounds that we used to do and the 500 always led into Bathurst, [it] was super exciting.
“I think it’s a little bit unfair on the poor co-drivers that don’t get to race these cars as often.”
The full-time main game drivers will return for the balance of the weekend with the next session being Practice 3 at 10:20 AEST.