09 Jan 2019
GARTH TANDER may not appear on the full-time grid in the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Series after Garry Rogers Motorsport confirmed its new line-up with his name missing.
The veteran driver – whose career began at GRM and rejoined the team after a long stint at Walkinshaw Andretti United – will be replaced by former Prodrive pilot Richie Stanaway.
The team has also secured the backing of Boost Mobile, which will take over the skinning of the team cars having previously adorned the Waklinshaw Andretti United cars in 2018.
Team owner Garry Rogers said while the bright young future of the team (Stanaway joins fellow emerging driver James Golding), the decision to axe Tander was difficult.
“It obviously comes as a surprise to most that Garth will not be driving at GRM in 2019,” Rogers said.
“Garth has rewarded the GRM team some of the biggest moments in motorsport including the 2000 Bathurst 1000 win alongside Jason Bargwanna, second in the Championship behind Mark Skaife in the same year and the success of the Monaro 427 in the Bathurst 24hr races of 2002.
“On Garth’s return to GRM in 2017 he was guaranteed two years of full-time driving and a management role following that, there were many aspects to my decision including that Garth was nearing the end of his career and has expressed that 2019 could be his final full time season as a driver.”
“I was very conscious of the fact that I would be both the one that started and ended Garth’s full-time Supercar career and this weighed heavily on me. In a perfect world I would absolutely have loved to give Garth the send-off that such a champion deserves, but I never lost sight that motorsport although centred around the driver is about the Team and not any one individual.”
As much as a surprise the omission of Tander may be to fans, it’s the contracting of Stanaway that may equally raise eyebrows after he departed the Prodrive outfit after just one year after rumoured friction between driver and team.
He joins a squadron known for cultivating young talent, and is looking forward to the future with the newly christened Boost Mobile Racing Team.
"I am excited and thankful to GRM and Boost Mobile for giving me a chance to race in one of the greatest championships in the world,” he said.
“My approach last year and my attitude which often stemmed from my own frustration was the wrong approach at times. I apologise to the people and fans that supported me and believed in me. GRM and Boost Mobile have given me a chance and I am committed to give it 100% and do what it takes as a team to win."
The new Boost Mobile Racing Team will debut at the Superloop Adelaide 500 from 28 February-3 March 2019. Tickets are on sale now.