The daunting concrete walls that line this weekend’s Gold Coast 600 can end a driver’s V8 Supercars season, but it’s where Garth Tander hopes to launch an unlikely title tilt.
Holden veteran Tander – a record seven-time Gold Coast race winner – has not earned a top 10 qualifying spot since May’s Perth round.
But he has stormed to sixth in the drivers’ standings thanks to a string of comeback efforts including his gutsy Bathurst 1000 podium finish.
Tander was way back in 22nd before nabbing third place in the Great Race after just missing the Sandown 500 podium.
Tander is 599 points behind series leader, Ford’s Mark Winterbottom, with four rounds left.
However, the series standings could be turned on their head by the Gold Coast’s tight, brutal course in the year’s final enduro.
“We always used to say wait until after Bathurst to see how your championship is going,” Tander said.
“Now it’s wait until after the Gold Coast.
“Things can change very, very quickly here.
“Things do get a bit frantic, and through no fault of your own it could ruin your day and put you on the back foot in the championship for the rest of the year.”
To prove Tander’s point, the safety car has been used in 26 of the 30 championship races held on the Gold Coast.
The last Gold Coast V8 race that did not feature a safety car was way back in 2007.
“If something happens to Frosty (Winterbottom) then we have to be in a position to capitalise,” Tander said.
“If we get solid success out of this weekend we could certainly be top three (in the standings) for the run home.”
Tander’s record seven wins at the Gold Coast includes the first two years it became a two driver team enduro event (2009-2010).
“I enjoy the challenge of the street circuit, to take big risks to get results around here,” said Tander who will again team up with co-driver Warren Luff on the Gold Coast.