Photo: Grove Racing

Garth Tander makes shock Ford switch

Garth Tander has completed a surprise switch to Ford for the 2023 Supercars season after Grove Racing announced it had agreed a deal with the former champion for the first year of the Gen3 era.

Tander, who retired from full-time competition at the end of the 2018 season, had spent the last four campaigns running with Triple Eight in a co-driver role – taking victory at Bathurst alongside Shane van Gisbergen in both 2020 and then earlier this season.

It was widely expected that Tander would continue to compete in Triple Eight colours when the team switches to the Chevrolet Camaro for 2023, but the 45-year-old will instead team up with Grove to drive one of the two Penrite Racing Ford Mustangs at Sandown and Bathurst.

Tander – who has raced Holdens for his entire Supercars career – will also help to mentor newcomer Matt Payne during his rookie season in the series, whilst his won Sebastian will join the Grove Junior Team for his latest year of karting.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work in some great race teams in Supercars,” Tander said. “What I have seen Stephen and Brenton Grove achieve in a very short time frame is seriously impressive.

“When they asked me to be part of what they are building for the future, not only as a driver, but also to help mentor Matt Payne, who has already proven to be an immense talent and also help guide the Grove Junior Team it was something that grabbed my attention.

“I have worked closely with many within the team in the past, having worked with Alistair McVean, David Cauchi and Grant McPherson already, as well as a team-mate to Dave Reynolds way back when he was a little tacker. Something big is being built here and I am honoured to be part of it.

“With the imminent arrival of Gen3 coming in 2023, I am excited to get started and help the team wherever I can.

“I would also like to thank everyone at Triple 8 Race Engineering for the last four years. To have the opportunity to win Bathurst in 2020 and 2022, with SVG, added another chapter to my career and that’s something I am very grateful for.”

Team owner Stephen Grove admitted he was thrilled to bring Tander’s knowledge into the team.

“We identified the need for an experienced driver to work hand in hand with Matt in his first year,” he said. “Garth was the obvious choice given his proven race winning pedigree and experience in developing race winning cars and teams.

“On top of that, we understood the need to bring a calculated driver into the fold to assist with the development of Gen3 in the early stages of the season, as well as the opportunity to take the best possible driving line up into Bathurst.”