Garth Tander is one of the most successful Australian touring cars drivers. His biggest achievement so far is the 2007 V8 Supercars Championship title.
Tander made a debut in the V8 Supercars in 1998, recording more than 600 starts since then. He was a race winner 54 times. At Bathurst 1000, he was a winner three times, triumphing in 2000, 2009 and 2011, with three different co-drivers. In 2002, he won Bathurst 24 Hour race.
Formula Ford champion in 1997
Born in Perth in March 1977, he started his career in go-kart racing. Early days of his racing career were very fruitful. Tander won the title in the Australian kart championship and seven titles in Western Australian state championships.
When he was 20 years old, Garth Tander became the Australian Formula Ford champion and was ready to step on a bigger stage. His aim was to compete in Formula Holden, but he couldn’t find sponsors and his career was in limbo. Luckily, he was offered a drive in V8 Supercars Championship by Garry Rogers Motorsport.
Supercars vice-champion in 1999, Bathurst 1000 winner in 2000
Rookie season wasn’t impressive as he finished 14th overall, but in 1999 results were far better and Garth clinched fifth place. The progress continued in 2000 when Tander finished as a runner-up, losing the championship battle against Mark Skaife. That year, Tander won the famous Bathurst 1000 and scored another two race wins. His co-driver at Mount Panorama was Jason Bargwanna.
Obviously, Tander was capable of high-level performances, but a long way was in front him before winning his first title. From 2001 until 2004, Tander was far from the top despite achieving some considerable results. During 2004 season, Garry Rogers Motorsport announced that after the end of the season, they won’t retain Tander’s services.
Bathurst 24 Hour race winner in 2002
In the meantime, Tander achieved excellent results in the Bathurst 24 Hour race driving a Garry Rogers Motorsport’s Holden Monaro 427C. In 2002, he was the winner, sharing the seat with Steven Richards, Nathan Pretty, and Cameron McConville.
In the following year, the same crew finished second. The winners were their teammates in the #05 Holden Monaco - Peter Brock, Greg Murphy, Jason Bright and Todd Kelly.
2007 champion with HSV Dealer Team
Garth remained behind the wheel of Holden Commodore in 2005, but this time as a driver of HSV Dealer Team, partnering Rick Kelly. The change was good for Tander who ended his first season with the new team in the 6th position while in the season of 2006 he was 4th, scoring a total of 10 wins in two years. At one point in 2006, he was leading the championship, but after a poor performance at Oran Park, he lost the lead and soon was out of the championship title battle.
Eventually, in 2007, Garth Tander became the V8 Supercars champion. Driving a Holden VE Commodore, he was the winner in 15 of 37 races and claimed the title only two points ahead of Jamie Whincup. That was one of the most exciting seasons in the history of the series because four drivers were in contention for the title before the last round. Tander won two of three races at Phillip Island and clinched the title, also securing manufacturers’ title for Holden and teams’ championship for his HSV Dealer Team.
Move to Holden Racing Team in 2008
After the biggest success in his career, Tander moved to Holden Racing Team in 2008 and began a new, quite successful phase of his career. In his first year with the new team, Garth finished 3rd in the Drivers’ championship.
However, after 2009, Tander was never a real title contender but he was always in Top 10 and he scored a decent number of wins. Starting from 2014, Garth also participated in the Australian GT Championship, but without any remarkable success.
Return to GRM in 2017, dumped out in 2019
After nine seasons with Holden Racing Team, Tander returned to Garry Rogers Motorsport in 2017, continuing to race with Holden Commodore. Scoring one podium, he finished ninth in the points. In 2018, he stays in the #33 GRM Holden, scoring one podium again, the third place at Adelaide, to finish 13th in the championship standings.
He was dumped out before the 2019 Supercars season so he made a deal with Triple Eight Race Engineering to serve as an endurance co-driver to Shane van Gisbergen in the #97 Holden.
Tander is hugely involved in the various community and charity programmes in Australia. Among other things, he is an Ambassador of Ponting Foundation which helps young Australians to beat cancer and an Ambassador of the Leukemia Foundation which provides free support services for patients and their families.