January isn’t the normal time of year for the Supercars silly season to be occuring but today’s news that Garth Tander wouldn’t be driving for Garry Rogers Motorsport in 2019 took everyone by surprise.
Tander was the only GRM driver to take a podium last season while rookie James Golding finished the year in 22nd but the 2007 series champion’s form isn’t what saw him removed from the team.
Wilson Security departed as the title sponsor at the end of 2018 after a few seasons on the GRM cars just as Boost Mobile wanted a more exciting opportunity than what they were getting at Walkinshaw Andretti United. Enter founder Peter Adderton, who has signalled his intention to be a team owner sooner rather than later, and its clear to see where the influence came from.
Wanting a fresh team of young guns who can be stars of the future, the team is enlisting the services of Tickford Racing refugee Richie Stanaway for 2019 to try and get both team and driver back onto the podium. While both he and Golding finished outside of the top 20 in the 2018 season, both have shown potential in the past to do more, something which interested Adderton and Boost.
In Golding, they have someone who has been a part of GRM since 2015, starting out in Super2 before getting an endurance drive with the team in 2016. He made his full-time debut last year and endured a trial by fire but will be given a second chance in 2019 to prove his worth.
For Stanaway, it really is a lifeline as a highly anticipated rookie season in 2018 ended up being an extended highlights real of below average performances. The former GP2 race winner and 2017 Sandown 500 champion was signed by Tickford as the fourth driver for the Ford outfit with many expecting him to be fighting in the top 10 all season long.
Unfortnuately, team-wide struggles meant that only one driver from the squad finished in the top ten at years end (Mostert) as Stanaway’s best result was a ninth placed finish, ending the year second last in the standings. A bitter split between driver and team put him on the market as 2018 came to an end though no one expected this decision to be made.
Without a full-time drive, Tander is now on the market as an endurance driver this year and many have linked a possible tie up with Shane Van Gisbergen who is without a co-driver at this stage. His 2018 counterpart Earl Bamber is busy racing sportscars while 2017 co-driver Matt Campbell’s physical size was a big hindrance compared to Van Gisbergen, unlike Tander who has similar dimensions to the Kiwi.
Image via Tickford Racing