Shane van Gisbergen’s absence has opened the door to a rare test day opportunity for Garth Tander.
Tander will combine with van Gisbergen at next weekend’s Repco Bathurst 1000.
Van Gisbergen is currently in his native New Zealand preparing for his World Rally Championship debut.
With van Gisbergen absent, Tander will have the #97 Commodore all to himself at Wednesday’s pre-Bathurst test.
Wednesday will more than help Tander get sharp as he prepares for Bathurst start No. 24.
Red Bull Ampol Racing will be joined by Shell V-Power Racing Team, PremiAir Racing and Matt Stone Racing in Ipswich on Wednesday.
The Craig Lowndes/Declan Fraser Triple Eight wildcard will also complete its third and final test.
Tander’s sole running on Wednesday comes after he jetted to Triple Eight’s Queensland base last week.
There, Tander and van Gisbergen completed driver change practice before the latter flew to New Zealand.
"We’ve ticked the driver change box, I flew up for the day last week,” Tander told Supercars.com.
“We spent the day getting them right, and now that’s in the can.
“Wednesday will be like a regular test day, except I get the car to myself.”
Tander is no stranger to the #97 this year, having steered the car at a number of ride days.
The 2007 champion also drove the car at the Additional Driver session at Sandown.
Tander has also supplemented his Supercars broadcast duties with GT running.
The four-time Bathurst winner partnered with Yasser Shahin to win at Sandown a fortnight ago.
It’s a stark contrast to last year, when Tander arrived in Bathurst having had little running due to COVID-19 border complications.
Tander ran in the Sandown co-driver session
The pressure will be on Tander, given van Gisbergen can mathematically seal the championship in Bathurst.
If van Gisbergen gains 75 or more points on Cam Waters, he will clinch the title at Mount Panorama.
“I’ve been in the Supercar a fair bit this year, I’ve done a few ride days already,” Tander said.
“I came up for a test day earlier in the year, then obviously had the short session at Sandown.
“The beauty of this test is it’s a Wednesday, and then I’m back in the car in Bathurst eight days later.
“If you compare it to last year, I didn’t drive the car for three months before Practice 1 in Bathurst.
“Then I’ve had some GT races along the way and had some success, which is all helpful.
“No doubt my preparation has been a lot better this year."
Erebus Motorsport, the Erebus wildcard and Team 18 will test at Winton on Wednesday.
The other Victorian teams tested at Winton last week.
Tickets for the Repco Bathurst 1000 are available on Supercars.com and Ticketek.