Tander won’t race at Bathurst 12 Hour

Sportem
Sportem
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Tander has been a regular starter in the Bathurst GT3 race in recent years with five appearances as a factory-backed Audi driver.

His last was in 2020 when he shared a Melbourne Performance Centre R8 with Mirko Bortolotti and Chris Mies.

After the 2021 race was cancelled due to the pandemic, Tander didn’t take part in the revived 12 Hour earlier this year.

Instead he joined the broadcast team, impressing as a co-commentator for the round-the-clock race alongside Richard Craill and Matt Naulty.

The move from the cockpit to the commentary box wasn’t a one-off, Tander confirming that he will once again forgo driving to play a role in the broadcast team for the race next February.

“The plan is to be doing some calling, back doing TV,” he told Motorsport.com.

“It’s a very good opportunity to spend a long period of time in the commentary box; that’s something you don’t get an opportunity to do all that much.

“I enjoyed it last year, so I’m looking forward to it again in the future.”

Tander has been combining a growing TV presence with an ongoing professional driving career for the past two years.

He will continue to do so for at least the foreseeable future, too, thanks to a new multi-year Supercars endurance deal with Grove Racing.

That deal, which includes a shock move from GM to Ford for the first time in his Supercars career, followed whispers in the paddock that he might hang up his helmet following this year’s Great Race triumph with Shane van Gisbergen to focus solely on TV.

However Tander says that was never something he considered, particularly after a strong showing at Bathurst that included setting the fastest lap time of the entire weekend in Thursday practice.

“I was always planning to carry on driving,” he said.

“And certainly after how I went this year… I’ve always said that if I felt that I wasn’t contributing as a driver, then I would look at stopping driving. But I felt like it went pretty well this year.

“As a driver and as an athlete you sort of reflect and debrief with yourself and get clarity of how you think you went.

“For some reason there were some people that seemed to think I was retiring before the race even happened. That wasn’t in my mind.”

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