The West

Tander back shome V8 race
Nick Percat and Garth Tander check out Barbagallo Raceway. Pic: Bill Hatto

As the sole West Australian left competing in the V8 Supercar Championship, Garth Tander knows there will be plenty of outside pressure on him to perform when the series hits Perth in May.

But after a disappointing finish in his home State last year, the Holden Racing Team driver says he's putting just as much, if not more, pressure on himself to stand at the top of the podium this time around.

"It's a very special weekend for me," he said.

"I had a fantastic year here in 2007 where we won pole position and won all three races and that trophy sits next to my Bathurst trophies, that's how important it is to me.

"Being the only WA guy in the series now, there's a lot of expectation and a lot of support, which is fantastic.

"If we were on the podium it would be nice but we'd love to win a few races as well."

Tander and Walkinshaw Racing's Nick Percat were in Perth yesterday to promote the local leg of the championship series, the Perth 400, kicking off on May 16 at Barbagallo Raceway.

The fifth stop of the series will this year take on a super-sprint format, with two 100km races on the Saturday and a 200km race on Sunday.

After a frantic start to last season under the new "car of the future" regulations, the V8 series reverted to type at the Perth event, with Red Bull star Jamie Whincup winning two of the three races on his way to a record-equalling fifth championship.

But a race win to new manufacturer Volvo already in 2014 and improved performances from Nissan and Mercedes show it could be a different story this time around.

HRT invested in technical staff over the summer break and Tander said with the competition more open than ever, he still held hope of claiming a second championship in his 17th year on the circuit.

"That's why you're in the game, to win races and win championships and that's what the goal is now," he said.

"We're only one race in so it's easy to have those lofty expectations.

"We've recruited very well in the technical department and I feel like I'm driving as well as I've ever driven.

"I feel like by the time we get to the middle of the year we'll have a car that's very strong."

The West Australian

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