Experienced racer Chris Pither has joined Tekworkx Motorsport in a mentoring role for the team’s Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia 86 Series drivers alongside existing mentors Luke Youlden and Tim Brook.
Pither fills the role with a wealth of knowledge, thanks to a career that has spanned 78 starts in the Repco Supercars Championship along with many other series. The 34-year-old has started every Bathurst 1000 since 2012 and was the 2018 Dunlop Super2 Series Champion.
“I’m excited to get involved. The Tekworkx team is clearly results-driven and there’s a great group of experienced people behind the scenes,” said Pither.
The veteran driver does have experience in the Toyota 86 Series with three rounds in the bank, two of which came in 2018 where he picked up a second-place finish at The Bend. Earlier this year Pither also competed in round one of the season at Bathurst, where he claimed two top five finishes across the three races.
“I’ve competed in some Toyota 86 Series rounds as a Toyota guest driver and there’s a real art to getting the most out of the cars, because they’re so unique to drive,” Pither said.
“It’s a different driving style to other cars. They’re not the fastest, so you have to be very smooth and minimise mistakes. Even a small mistake can cost you a lot of time or positions.”
“It’s an excellent category for driver development, because it teaches drivers to refine their technique and analyse their performance. There’s always a good-sized field and the racing is close and competitive.
“I really get a kick out of driver coaching, especially when I see drivers’ efforts starting to pay off. In the past, I did some coaching with Mason Barbera and Dylan O’Keeffe, and it was satisfying watching both of them working their way to the front of the Super2 field.
“During my career, I have been fortunate to receive support from a lot of people, which I am extremely grateful for. I like to pay it forward where I can and pass on my experience and knowledge to help accelerate the learning process for up-and-coming drivers. That was the main focus for running the Chris Pither Scholarship program in 2012 as well.
“I have a good relationship with the other Tekworkx driver coaches, Luke and Tim – it’s pretty cool that I get to work with my mates. Tim is a Toyota 86 expert and past series champion, while Luke obviously has vast experience and success in a huge variety of cars, so we all bring different elements to the table.
“Rob (Woods) is a passionate racer himself and he has very high standards – he expects to be successful.”
Team owner Rob Woods is thrilled to have a driver of Pither’s calibre joining the mentoring group.
“We’re stoked to have Chris on board, he’s an extremely passionate racer and he has an incredible amount of knowledge from his time racing in a variety of different categories. His racing achievements speak for themselves and I’m really excited to see what he can do for our young drivers in the Toyota 86 Series,” said Woods.
“Along with Luke Youlden and Tim Brook, I feel that we have assembled a powerful roster of mentors, who can help coach these young drivers and help them on their path.”
With the scheduled second round of the Toyota 86 Series at Winton being postponed, the next round of the series will now be held at Townsville on 9-11 July. Tekworkx Motorsport will field three entries including two debutants to the series; Rossi Johnson returns following his debut at Mount Panorama while Andrew Shah and Kai Allen both step in for their maiden appearances.