Tander’s 50-lap Ford Supercars history

Tander today became the latest high-profile defector from the General Motors camp to the Blue Oval with a deal to join Grove Racing as a mentor and endurance driver for 2023.

The move to a Ford Mustang follows a career in Australia’s top tier of touring car racing behind the wheel of Holdens.

That Tander has never raced a Ford in Supercars is factually correct, the West Australian having debuted for Holden squad Garry Rogers Motorsport in 1998 and remained loyal to the red side of the divide ever since.

However the Blue Oval isn’t entirely foreign to Tander, even if you discount his successful Formula Ford career that yielded an Australian Championship in 1997.

Tander actually cut his very first Supercars laps driving a Glenn Seton Racing-built EL Ford Falcon at Wanneroo Raceway in 1997.

The car was owned by Perth-based privateer Claude Giorgi who let Tander loose for roughly 20 laps of his home circuit in preparation for an upcoming test with Dick Johnson Racing.

The following week Tander completed around 30 laps in a DJR Falcon at Mallala before that test was rained out.

Tander would go on to grab an opportunity with GRM for the 1998 Supercars season that kick-started a Supercars career that turned him into a Holden legend.

He would spend seven years at GRM, the highlight a remarkable Bathurst 1000 win in 2000 sharing with Jason Bargwanna.

In 2005 Tander strengthened his ties with Holden when he moved to the HSV Dealer Team which ran out of the same Walkinshaw operation that fielded the Holden Racing Team entries.

In 2007 he won the Supercars title for the HSVDT which led to a promotion to full factory driver with HRT from 2008 onwards.

Tander stayed with HRT until 2016, its final year as the factory Holden team, picking up more Bathurst wins in 2009 and 2011.

After a two-year return to GRM he etched his name further into Holden’s history books with the final factory Holden win at Bathurst in 2020 and the final Holden win at Bathurst in 2022, each with Shane van Gisbergen and Triple Eight.

Tander will make his first competitive appearance in a Ford Supercar at the Sandown 500 next September.

His Ford debut will come in the same season that Walkinshaw Andretti United, which ran the HSVDT and the HRT, makes its own move from GM hardware to the Ford Mustang.


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