While there is plenty of romanticism about the two being reunited – after Tander delivered GRM its single Bathurst 1000 win with Jason Bargwanna in 2000 and best championship finish with second that season – Rogers said that had nothing to do with selecting him as the best option this time around.
“It’s great – forget the fact that he was here,” Rogers told supercars.com.
“Everyone discounts Garth Tander. Garth Tander is a bloody great driver.
“I’m pleased he was here and everyone close to me knows Garth and I never had any issues.
“When it was time to go and better himself – good on him – he came along and gave me good notice about that and I understand that.
“We’ve always remained good friends and look – I’m just thrilled to bits, with all that aside, to have someone of his calibre join the team.”
Tander won the Championship in 2007 with the HSV Dealer Team and has three Bathurst 1000s to his name.
His results have not been as consistent in the Car of the Future era, but in the second half of 2016 he become a regular front-runner, winning the Sandown 500 with Warren Luff and looking the goods at Bathurst before the chaotic Jamie Whincup incident that turned the race on its head.
He earned his first ARMOR ALL Pole Position of the NewGen era for the final race of 2016, bringing good momentum with him to GRM.
Switching from Volvos back to Commodores, Tander won’t break his career run of driving Holdens next seasons.
He’s said publicly he believes GRM offers the opportunity to win races and championships and at 39-years of age he showed he still had form last year.
He will line up with James Moffat alongside as his teammate. Moffat was engineered by Manuel Sanchez last year, with departed McLaughlin’s car run by much-respected veteran engineer Richard Hollway.
“We haven’t made decisions on car numbers, or engineers, mechanics or anything – we are just building our cars and we’re flat out doing that,” Rogers said.
Tander steered the #34 at GRM back in 2000, though Moffat ran that number last year.