Former Supercars Champion Garth Tander and rising star Jaxon Evans will join the Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing team for the Australian Endurance Championship at Phillip Island, as part of the 100th Shannons Nationals round next weekend.
Tander will step into the #74 Valvoline entry alongside Geoff Emery, while Evans will join Tim Miles, who competed in the #75 entry at Round 2 of the Australian GT Championship in Albert Park.
No stranger to the team, Tander has chalked up 10 Australian GT Championship appearances, including victory at the inaugural Phillip Island 101 in 2014.
“You look at the speed we had in the car last year at the Phillip Island round, we were really, really fast, things just didn’t roll our way,” Tander said.
“We’re certainly looking to continue the speed aspect of it. Sharing the car with Geoff, who’s doing a fantastic job this year on his return to racing after his injury last year, I’m really looking forward to that.
“It’s easy to look at it on the surface and say it’s just 500km around there, but there’s a fair bit of strategy involved.
“For me, I enjoy that challenge because I only jump in it a couple of times a year, so I enjoy driving something different … I think we’ll be among it, but there’s always strong contenders.”
Twelve months ago Tander combined with Steve McLaughlan to take pole position at the sweeping Victorian circuit in both the Australian GT Championship and Australian Endurance Championship events.
This time he’ll partner Geoff Emery, who is fresh from a successful weekend at Barbagallo as part of the Australian GT Championship, where he claimed second for the round and moved within striking distance of the championship lead.
“I think Garth and I are going to be a really strong combination,” Emery said.
“He was very quick at Bathurst and last year the Audi was really fast at Phillip Island, so we’re very confident heading in.
“Last year I didn’t get a chance to really reach my potential, but this year I think it’s all coming together I’ve driven the car at six race meetings now, so I’m really comfortable and its getting easier to drive the longer I’m in it.”
Having made his first Australian GT appearance at the end of 2016, young gun Jaxon Evans will make his debut for Jamec Pem Racing at Phillip Island.
“I’m pretty excited to be joining Jamec Pem Racing for the endurance round,” Evans said.
“They’ve got some good mechanics and engineers, and they’re always at the front of the race, so I’m looking forward to tasting the new Audi and also a new team.”
Evans, who has been coached by Supercars endurance racer Warren Luff, is also looking forward to the opportunity to compare notes with Tander.
“You can’t ask for much more than having Luffy as a driver coach, but being able to benchmark yourself against Garth is always good for someone who is coming up the ranks and trying to make a mark on motor sport.”
Miles is also excited about the prospect of racing alongside Evans, having closely followed his career since it began.
“Jaxon’s Dad and I have been friends since we were at school together, and I’ve watched Jaxon’s career through go-karts; he’s been incredibly fast in everything he’s sat in,” Miles said.
“He’ll turn a few heads, because I think he’ll adapt very well. I’m really looking forward to it, as is he!”
The two pronged Jamec Pem Racing attack takes to the circuit for the opening round of the 2017 Australian Endurance Championship at Phillip Island on 27 May, with practice and two qualifying sessions.
A new format then follows on Sunday, with morning warmup followed by a new 500km endurance race.
Content originally sourced from www.australiangt.com.au