Days after he delivered the Holden Racing Team a famous Supercars victory at Sandown, veteran Garth Tander has been shown the door in favour of Scott Pye for 2017.
Walkinshaw Racing has decided not to renew Tander’s contract for next season, when the outfit will lose factory backing from Holden after 26 years.
Tander had been the team’s longest-serving driver, winning 50 races – including two Bathurst victories – and a championship in 2007.
“He will always be considered a brother to the Walkinshaw family and we wish him the very best of luck with his future,” owner Ryan Walkinshaw said in a statement.
Tander said it was a “sad day”, knowing his time at HRT was coming to an end after nine years.
“Been a great ride and last weekend is one of many highlights,” he tweeted on Friday.
“Being a Holden factory driver means the world to me. I will be giving it my all to finish on a high in the months ahead.
“We still have some races to win at HRT so let’s all enjoy the ride while it lasts.”
Tander has not given up on finding a seat for 2017, with speculation the 39-year-old could race alongside James Moffatt at Garry Rogers Motorsport to race.
Pye, who was pushed out of DJR Team Penske following their mid-year signing of Scott McLaughlin, will join 2010 series winner James Courtney at Walkinshaw on a three-year deal.
Courtney has also signed on for another three seasons, extending his stay until the end of 2019.
The 36-year-old says he’s more determined than ever to win a championship with the team, even though they’re losing funding from Holden.
“Everyone in the team, from engineering staff to management and commercial, have all put a ridiculous amount of effort into preparing my car and giving me the opportunity to win races,” he said.
“I’ve also put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this team and would hate it if I walked away from here and someone else rolled in and started getting all the success we have worked so hard for.”