Tander to bring girl power to enduro events.
Australia's leading female racer, Leanne Tander, has landed a hotly-contested endurance seat with Wilson Security Racing for the 2009 V8 Supercar season, and will go head-to-head with husband, and former series champion, Garth at both Phillip Island and Bathurst.
The 28-year old has re-established her credentials in the national F3 championship over the past few years, becoming the first woman in the world to win in the category, and returns to the V8 arena having spent the 2001-02 seasons battling in the Development Series, where she remains the only woman to have stood on the podium.
"To be honest, 98 per cent of the time, I forget that I'm any different to anyone else out there," Tander insisted when questioned about being a woman in what is seen as a man's world, "Everybody on the track is out there to win – they want to beat every single person, I want to beat every single person; we're really no different in that regard.
"Most of the time, I do forget that I'm unique in this field, and it's usually when people ask the question that I remember. Racing against the guys has never been an issue for me. I've been doing it since I was 13, so it's my life. I don't know any different."
Not only will the Tanders have marital supremacy at stake, but they will also pit the sport's two marques against each other, as Leanne pilots WSR's Ford Falcon against her husband's Holden.
"Garth and I have sort of raced each other before – my first Formula Ford race coincided with the year that Garth won the Formula Ford Championship, so he was out the front leading and, being my first race and all, I was down toward the back," she reflected, "In a way, I guess we raced each other, although we didn't know each other then.
"Also, when I did the enduros with GRM in 2001, we were in the same race. In the Queensland 500, I actually beat Garth because I think he had car trouble and went a few laps down. So I actually beat him in that one! Then, at Bathurst, my co-driver crashed before I got in, so my race ended before I even got in the car.
"We've never had the opportunity to race wheel-to-wheel and I don't think we will be necessarily racing wheel-to-wheel this year either, but to be in the same race with my husband, I'm really looking forward to it. We've always been hugely supportive of each other and his response to me getting this opportunity with WSR has been great. He has been so excited for me.
"We'll continue to support each other where we can, but on those two race weekends I guess he'll have to get his own lunch and his own drinks because I'll be busy!"
Tander will get her first scheduled outing in the machine at a forthcoming test at Queensland Raceway on Wednesday 11 March.