SUPERCARS
Monday, Feb 12 08:25pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

How Chris Pither got back in line for a Supercars drive

Chris Pither is still trying to get his way back in frame for a full time drive in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, and it might not be far away.

 

After time in and out of the hot seat between Garry Rogers Motorsport in 2015, Super Black Racing a year later, and Erebus Motorsport last year, Pither hasn’t had the stability he’d have liked.

 

At 31-years-old Pither isn’t exactly a rookie anymore. With titles in the New Zealand and Australian V8 Ute Series’ and plenty of endurance drivers under his belt; there’s no questioning he’s been around the block a few times.

 

A standout performance at last year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 saw him finish fourth, his performance in the championship to date outside of his pole position at Queensland in 2016.

 

However, it wasn’t enough for him to retain a spot with the Holden outfit who instead opted for veteran Luke Youllden and young gun Will Brown.

 

On the outer, Pither picked up the phone and got to work getting a drive in this year’s championship. He found support in Garry Rogers.

 

He wanted to get a drive in the Pirtek Enduro Cup, but he didn’t expect to be back in the development series.

 

2018 will see Pither start his sixth Dunlop Super2 Series stint, but the first alongside Garry Rogers.

 

“I caught up with Garry and Barry Rogers and spoke to them about the option of doing the enduros and was wrapped to get that locked away,” Pither told velocitynews.co.nz.

 

“Then the option came up to do the Dunlop Super 2 Series as well. It was an added bonus to some degree, but I was keen to get back into the series as well and do more laps.

 

“I’m pumped to be honest.”

 

Pither said he’s stoked to be back in the hot seat on a regular basis. Last year he only got the chance to do the endurance leg of the championship in between driver training stints.

 

In 2018 he’ll get a proper chance to be racing more frequently.

 

“Last year just doing the enduros alone, it wasn’t much mileage. They’re three great rounds, but I want to do more racing than three events a year.

 

“I’m really excited for what’s ahead. I think the team is in a good place. They had to some degree a bit of a rebuilding year last year when they changed from the Volvo back to the Holden. I think they’re really well organised and in a good position before the pre-season test.”

 

With a drive secured for this year he has his sights set firmly on keeping it. When asked about his future in the Supercars Championship, Pither said he’d like to be

 

“I’ve had experience with the team in the past in 2015 when I co-drove with Dave Wall and filled in at the Australian Grand Prix.

 

“My experience with the team in the past has been great. They’ve got a great atmosphere and vibe within the team.

 

“I’d love to look at [whether] I can be a co-driver for a lot of years to come.”

 

Pither is set to complete his first pre-season test this week on Wednesday at Winton Raceway with the team. There his Holden Commodore will be revealed, which he said may have a bit of a Kiwi flavour to it.

 

“I’m pretty excited to be honest. I haven’t had too much involvement with that side of things yet, but I have been told that the livery comes out on Tuesday a day prior to our test.

 

“From what I’ve been told it’s going to be quite good and potentially have a bit of Kiwiana about it as well. I’m looking forward to it.”

 

Pither couldn’t confirm what sponsors he’ll have on board for this season, but he said he’s grateful for how the deal has been organised.

 

In between negotiations Pither has been helping at the Castrol Toyota Racing Series and was the driving standards observer in Taupō. He said he’s realistic about his career prospects being an older driver trying to forge something long term in the Supercars Championship.

 

“I’m 31 now. This is a career for me. I’ve got to try and make it work and all aspects.

 

“The way it is panning out for the year ahead is pretty good. I’ve got a good balance of racing as well as driver training work as well.

 

“It’s a challenging sport, especially to make a living out of it.”


Photo: Sourced/Chris Pither


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