The 41-year-old still had a year remaining on his contract with GRM and was preparing to start the new season as the oldest person on the starting grid following the retirement of Craig Lowndes.
However, his full-time driving career was instead ended 12 months early as he was replaced by Tickford Racing reject Richie Stanaway.
Tander, who has won at Bathurst three times in his long career, will instead pair up with Shane van Gisbergen in the No. 97 after it was confirmed Lowndes would reunite with Jamie Whincup in the other Triple Eight car.
The partnership will be “at least” two years and will see Tander co-drive for SVG at Gold Coast 600 and Sandown 500, as well as at Mount Panorama in the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
“Triple Eight have clearly been the class team in Supercars for the best part of the last decade, their results speak for themselves,” Tander said.
“When the opportunity arose to join the team alongside Shane for the enduros it was clearly the best way for me to transition from a full-time driver to a co-driver in this next phase of my career.
“Shane has come so close at the mountain a couple of times in the last few years, I’ve been close a few times in the last few years, so while the mountain doesn’t owe anyone anything, if you keep putting yourself up the front at that race, eventually the cards can fall your way.”
Van Gisbergen himself said he hoped Tander would give him the final push he needs to win Bathurst, having previously driven together during Australian GT.
“As far as experience goes, there’s probably not many better drivers,” he said. “Craig is back driving with Jamie, which is fitting, and if you can’t have Craig then Garth is definitely the best person to have on your team.”
Garry Rogers Motorsport has stunned the world of Supercars by dumping veteran and former champion Garth Tander for the 2019 season, all but certainly ending his full-time driving career.
The 41-year-old only recently spoke of how he was planning to scale back on his extra-curricular racing outside of Supercars so he can focus solely on the series this year.
However, if he is to do that then it will no longer be with GRM after they announced Richie Stanaway as his replacement after he was in turn dropped by Tickford Racing in December, despite having a year still left of his contract.
Tander was set to be the oldest person on the starting grid this year following the retirement of Craig Lowndes and revealed in a recent interview with Supercars.com that he was jokingly warned to not quit by Garry Rogers following the Holden legend’s announcement.
“Straight after Craig’s announcement in Townsville, Garry came and found me and the first thing he said to me was ‘don’t get any ideas!’” he said last month. “They told me they want me to hang around for a bit longer.”
However it turns out not too much longer and despite the two parties’ agreement to prolong their relationship Tander now finds himself out of the door.
Lowndes’ amazing career
In an official statement, Tander said about the decision: “I’m grateful for the start that Garry gave me in Supercars and understand his decision to end my full-time driving career. I’m now going to take a deep breath and consider my future that won’t be at GRM. I wish the team well for the future.”
Rogers himself expressed his regret at not being able to give Tander a hero’s send-off similar to the one Lowndes received with the 2007 champion instead being shuffled out the back door during the off-season.
“It obviously comes as a surprise to most that Garth will not be driving at GRM in 2019,” he said. “On Garth’s return to GRM in 2017 he was guaranteed two years of full-time driving and a management role following that.
“There were many aspects to my decision including that Garth was nearing the end of his career and has expressed that 2019 could be his final full-time season as a driver.
“I was very conscious of the fact that I would be both the one that started and ended Garth’s full-time Supercar career and this weighed heavily on me.
“In a perfect world I would absolutely have loved to give Garth the send-off that a champion deserves, but I never lost sight that motorsport, although centred around the driver, is about the team and not any one individual.”
Stanaway will join James Golding this season while the team also announced Boost Mobile will continue as their naming-rights partner in a new multi-year deal.
Former Dakar Rally champion Toby Price has admitted his hopes of repeating his 2016 heroics rely on how his fractured wrist holds up over the coming days.
The Australian was feeling pain in the right wrist following the short Stage One of the Dakar Rally in Peru on Tuesday and received treatment on it, despite defiant messages that he is fit enough to complete the race.
However, Price, who is fifth in the general standings after finishing fourth in Stage Two on Thursday morning, has now conceded that how quickly the injury recovers could dictate whether or not he is able to put together a challenge.
“I ended up breaking a scaphoid in my wrist, on the right side, but we’ve got it fixed I think,” Price said after Stage 2 in Peru. “It should be half decent, so we’ll just see how the race goes. “
We’re here and that’s the main thing, so I’m just happy to kick the race off. There’s been a little bit of pain over the last three and a half or four weeks, for sure, the scaphoid isn’t the best bone to break.
“It takes a long time for the recovery process, but all in all, I’m still comfortable, still happy and we’ll just see how the race kicks off for us. I’ll just relax and see how I go, see if I can get down and if I can do this then it’s the best part.
“If I’m in the right position I can fight and if the wrist can put up with the pressure and everything, then, yeah, I’ll definitely go full gas. We’ll see, but I’m definitely here to win, like everyone else is here to win – we’ll see how it goes.”