Motorsport: Tander to get first taste of Hampton Downs

By Dale Budge

Garth Tander prepares for the Top Ten Shootout for the Bathurst 1000. Photo / Getty Images
Garth Tander prepares for the Top Ten Shootout for the Bathurst 1000. Photo / Getty Images

The new layout of the Hampton Downs circuit will have little impact on Supercars star Garth Tander at this week's Hampton Downs 101.

The third round of the Australian GT Endurance Championship will be the first event ever held on the full international circuit at the North Waikato track after a $25 million investment by owner Tony Quinn over the past couple of years.

But for Tander this event will mark his first ever visit to the track.

"To be honest I never drove the old track there so it is all new for me," the Holden Racing Team driver tells herald.co.nz.

"I don't know whether that is an advantage or disadvantage.

"Even guys with experience at the existing track are going to have to learn the new bit.

"Because it is the first time GT cars have been there at all everyone is going to be learning."

Tander has endured a hectic few weeks. He was caught up in the controversial crash in the dying stages of the Bathurst 1000 a fortnight ago - a seemingly innocent bystander as Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin fought over position. He was then involved in a spectacular high-speed crash with Kiwi Fabian Coulthard at the weekend's Gold Coast 600. Tander was hit with a drive-through penalty and a 10-place grid penalty for the Sunday race as a result.

He now heads to New Zealand where he will swap his Holden Supercar for an Audi R8 LMS to run alongside Steve McLaughlin this week and in a fortnight at the Highlands 101.

"I have done some research and I've got some simulation stuff for the new track which I will spend a bit of time on preparing this week," Tander says.

Tander is no stranger to this format having previously won the Highlands 101 and already competed in the Australian GT Endurance Championship earlier this season.

"We did the 12 Hour together earlier this year and then did the first round of the Endurance Championship at Phillip Island with Steve. Unfortunately I couldn't do Eastern Creek because it clashed with the V8 weekend.

"The plan all along was to do the Hampton Downs 101 and then Highlands a couple of weeks later.

"The car is a really fast car so I'm looking forward to getting out on the newly configured Hampton Downs."

In the meantime Tander is still sorting out his Supercars future having not been offered a new deal with HRT.

"There is nothing more to add there yet.

"There are plenty of options that we need to assess and look at and we will do that and they will play out in the fullness of time."

- NZ Herald

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