Holden’s Garth Tander will swap his Commodore for an Audi next month as he chases glory in the Bathurst 12-Hour race.
Preparations for the endurance event have ruined Tander’s normally quiet off-season but he feels that will actually prove to be a bonus when the V8 Supercars championship starts in Adelaide in March.
The three-time Bathurst 1000 winner is one of several V8 stars who line up on the grid for the February 7 event, including ex-teammate Will Davison and leading drivers David Reynolds and Shane Van Gisbergen.
Tander says the chance to get actual racing under his belt ahead of the season-opening Clipsal 500 can only be a benefit.“It certainly won’t hurt, that’s for sure,” Tander told AAP.
“Going through the process of a race weekend - qualifying, the race, the strategy, all that sort of stuff - just fires the mind back up again.”
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The event is far from some kind of exhibition drive as well, with Tander saying the quality of field shows how determined everyone is to secure a win.
V8s veteran Craig Lowndes, who was going to team up with Tander and car owner Steve McLaughlin in their Melbourne Performance Centre entry, was ruled out on Tuesday after breaking his collarbone during a weekend motorbike ride.
In his stead has come European-based Audi factory driver Rene Rast, and Tander said that was a high quality replacement.
“The fact that Audi are willing and prepared and keen to send him down as a replacement for this race says a lot about the race itself,” he said.
“The manufacturers obviously hold it in high regard. We, as V8 Supercar drivers, hold it high regard also because it’s a challenge, it’s something different.
“Racing against those guys, coming down and racing on our track in their cars effectively.”