Pither back in the V8 hot seat

By Tara Murray

While most drivers had months to prepare for the opening round of the V8 Supercars series, Mt Macedon’s Chris Pither had a matter of days.

Pither was only confirmed as the driver for Team Sydney’s second Coca-Cola liveried ZB Commodore the Sunday before the opening round last month.

He did a testing day on Wednesday, before the season kicked off on Thursday at the Superloop Adelaide 500.

Pither said it wasn’t the ideal preparation leading into the season.

“When it was confirmed, I was busy working in New Zealand,” he said.

“I was there and flew straight to Adelaide for the pre-season testing day. It made it a bit of a challenge.

“I had been out of the seat for awhile.”

Pither started with a 19th-place finish in race one, before failing to finish in race two.

Knowing the situation he was in, Pither didn’t have many expectations going into round one. He said the car struggled for speed at times.

“There were some challenges in round one, but we were keeping the expectations realistic.

“A lot of the crew is brand new into V8 supercars.

“We’ve got a bit of work to do, to make the car more comfortable to drive. We need to keep improving each round.”

Pither said one of his key measurements would be how he went against the other driver in the team.

He said that he and former champion James Courtney were about the same mark in round one.

Courtney has since quit the team.

Contrary to rumours, Pither is going nowhere.

Pither said they had set some realistic expectations and wanted to build throughout the year.

This season is Pither’s second full time season in V8 Supercars having been part of the series in 2016.

That year he had an eighth-place finish and scored a poll position.

Since then, it’s been an up and down time for Pither. He won the Dunlop Super2 Series in 2018 before losing his ride at the end of that season.

It wasn’t enough to get him a ride back in the main series, as he remained just a co-driver for the endurance races.

An injury to Richie Stanaway late last year, saw him fill in for a couple of rounds.

Pither said it was good to get an opportunity to show what he could do.

“There’s been some great support from individuals and businesses, which is really appreciated.”