Chris Pither will continue with Super Black Racing at this weekend’s season finale, the Coates Hire Sydney 500, ahead of a full-time drive with the team in next year’s V8 Supercars Championship.
After earning his stripes in the feeder Dunlop Series championship and as a co-driver in the top flight’s Pirtek Enduro Cup rounds with Polestar Racing GRM, the New Zealander joined Super Black Racing at the preceding round, the Phillip Island SuperSprint, as an audition to replace current driver Andre Heimgartner.
The 28-year-old had a low-key outing for the one-car team, claiming a pair of 24th-placed finishes in Saturday’s Sprint Races before improving to 19th in Sunday’s Feature Race.
Nonetheless, his performance was enough to earn him a repeat call-up at Sydney Olympic Park ahead of a full-time drive in 2016, according to team owner Tony Lentino.
“He did a great job at Phillip Island,” Lentino said.
“He’s got a good knowledge of cars and setup and worked really well with the team. We’re excited to have him on board for next year and see how he develops as the year goes on.
“He has a wealth of experience so we’re excited to see where it goes. We have high hopes.”
“Being asked to drive the car at Phillip Island and work with Super Black was such a great opportunity and one that I thoroughly enjoyed,” Pither added.
“I’m really excited to have the chance to work with them and hopefully we can get some good results. It’s great to step up from the Dunlop Series into the main game but the level of competition is completely different.
“I am looking forward to working hard and doing the best that I can for the team.”
Pither’s appointment means that just three seats remain unconfirmed for the 2016 season.
|2016 V8 Supercars Championship – Provisional Driver Line-ups|
|#||Team / Entry||Driver||Notes|
|2.||Red Bull Racing Australia||Garth Tander|
|3.||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||Tim Blanchard^|
|4.||Erebus Motorsport V8||Ashley Walsh|
|5.||Prodrive Racing Australia||Mark Winterbottom|
|6.||Prodrive Racing Australia||Chaz Mostert|
|7.||Nissan Motorsport||Todd Kelly|
|8.||Brad Jones Racing||Jason Bright|
|9.||Erebus Motorsport V8||David Reynolds||Moving from Rod Nash Racing|
|12.||DJR Team Penske||Fabian Coulthard||Moving from Brad Jones Racing|
|14.||Brad Jones Racing||Tim Slade||Moving from Walkinshaw Racing|
|15.||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly|
|17.||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye|
|18.||Charlie Schwerkolt Racing||Lee Holdsworth|
|21.||Brad Jones Racing||TBA|
|22.||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney|
|23.||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso|
|33.||Volvo Polestar Racing||Scott McLaughlin|
|34.||Volvo Polestar Racing||James Moffat||Moving from Nissan Motorsport|
|55.||Rod Nash Racing||Cameron Waters*||Promoted from Dunlop Series|
|88.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Jamie Whincup|
|97.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Shane van Gisbergen||Moving from TEKNO Autosports|
|99.||Nissan Motorsport||Dale Wood||Moving from Brad Jones Racing|
|111.||Super Black Racing||Chris Pither||Promoted from Dunlop Series|
|222.||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||Nick Percat|
|888.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Craig Lowndes|
|TBA.||TEKNO Autosports||Will Davison||Moving from Erebus Motorsport|
* Deal yet to be officially confirmed
^ Unconfirmed, but considered the favourite for the seat
Images via Motorsport.com and Super Black Racing