Garth Tander will join Neil Crompton and Mark Skaife on a rotating commentary roster for the 2021 Supercars season.
The four-time Bathurst 1000 winner has been given a “growth and development” role as part of a new-look Supercars TV line-up.
That will include calling support races alongside Chad Neylon, working as a Supercars pit reporter at select events, and also stints in the main commentary role alongside Crompton.
That will come as part of a cricket-style rotating commentary roster between the three, with plans for Skaife to be subbed out for Tander at various times during the season.
According to Supercars TV boss Nathan Prendergast, the decision has been made with an eye on a post-Crompton and Skaife future.
“At appropriate and scheduled events, Garth will get some seat time in the main commentary role,” said Prendergast.
“We’re going to do a little bit of a scheduled thing like the cricket, where we might remove [Skaife] for a little time and put Garth in, to give him a bit of a run in the main commentary role.
“No one is in a hurry to push [Crompton or Skaife] out of their roles. But we need to be looking at what’s next, at what the future looks like.
“I’ve always rated Garth. He’s very intelligent, a really good talker and is well-credentialed.
“The aim for this year with Garth is two-fold. He needs to learn the ropes and gain the respect of the teams.”
Prendergast added that he’s confident Tander’s Bathurst 1000 deal with Triple Eight won’t affect his commentary.
“There’s no hiding behind the fact that he’s a Triple Eight driver, and there will be a lot of people that may raise some concerns about that,” he said. “But Garth is a true professional, he’s an extremely talented presenter and driver, and he’ll bring a lot to this coverage.
“So giving Garth a touch point on all different aspects of the broadcast – commentary, pitlane, colour stories, pre- and post-produced – we’ll find out his capabilities. It’s an opportunity to grow for the future.”
Supercars has now unveiled its full TV line-up for the coming season as it embarks on a new TV deal split between Fox Sports and the Seven Network.
Crompton and Skaife will continue in their commentary roles, with the addition of Tander, while Jess Yates will continue to anchor the Fox Sports coverage. She was expected to miss some early rounds while on maternity leave, however Supercars is confident she’ll either only miss Tasmania, or no rounds at all.
Neylon will continue to lead the support commentary, joined by Tander, and will also make some appearances in pitlane for Supercars sessions at non-simulcast events.
Craig Lowndes’ role will be revised to include more driving – delivering track previews and testing cars for colour pieces – and less panel analysis alongside the likes of Yates and Skaife.
Mark Larkham’s technical analysis work will be used across both the coverage and the category’s digital platforms.
New additions to the are former children’s entertainer Charli Robinson, who will work as a pit and colour reporter, and rallying ace Molly Taylor, who will made sporadic appearances around her Extreme E commitments. The latter will be employed in a hybrid Supercars pit reporter and Network Seven role when available.
Greg Murphy won’t be a regular part of the line-up, largely due to travel restrictions between New Zealand and Australia, but there are plans for him to be involved in the Bathurst 1000 and Auckland round coverage.
As predicted by Motorsport.com, Seven will field a bolstered line-up for the season-opening Mount Panorama 500.
That will include hosts Mark Beretta and Abbey Gelmi, former cricketer Brad Hodge, Taylor and Supercars enduro driver Jack Perkins.
That presence may not be as large at other events.
It’s yet to be determined exactly which rounds Seven will show live, with only the two Bathurst events and the Gold Coast currently locked in.
Townsville, Darwin and the night events in Sydney and Perth will be amongst the front-runners to fill the other three live spots.
The Inside Line documentary series is also set to return for two more series. A version filmed with Walkinshaw Andretti United during 2020 will air during the 2021 winter break, while the process of selecting a team that will be followed this year is in its final stages.
At a glance: The 2021 Supercars commentary line-up
Neil Crompton – Commentator
Mark Skaife – Commentator
Garth Tander – Commentor/pit reporter/supports commentator
Jess Yates – Host (Fox Sports)
Chad Neylon – Supports commentator/pit reporter
Craig Lowndes – Colour reporter
Charli Robinson – Colour/pit reporter
Mark Larkham – Analyst
Mark Beretta – Host (for rounds live on Seven)
Molly Taylor – Pit reporter
Greg Murhpy – Pit reporter
Abbey Gelmi – Host (Seven Network)
Jack Perkins – Pit/colour reporter (Seven Network)
Brad Hodge – Pit/colour reporter (Seven Network)
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