Home' Supercar Xtra : Oct Nov 2016 Issue 95 Contents 71
n what can be a brutal motorsport
environment, where competition
for race seats is hotly contested,
helping others make their mark is
not everybody’s inclination. But
not everyone has had a journey
like Chris Pither.
At the end of 2011, after two years
racing V8 Utes with his own career very
much at the crossroads, the Palmerston
North native decided to turn his attention
towards helping young guns in the sport
who needed a kickstart.
The proud Kiwi had won the competi-
tive Australian V8 Utes. Appreciating how
tough it can be to make it in motorsport,
especially with the costs involved, he con-
vinced loyal supporter Ice Break to run a
scholarship program to support those who
were a bit short on resources.
Pither selected four drivers for the
program; Jesse Dixon, Jack Le Brocq, Andy
Waite and Tom Williamson. Dixon went
on to race in the Bathurst 1000, while Le
Brocq is now one of the shining lights in
the Dunlop Development Series.
“I wanted to try and get them in the
championship-winning ute and give them a
bit of a boost,” he says.
“It was really cool to see Jesse go on to
win the Shannons Supercar Showdown. It
was quite rewarding. It gave me an appre-
ciation of the other side, too. I managed the
team and coached the guys where I could.
I was going back to my roots, I guess. I was
driving the truck and all the rest of it.”
Fast-forward four years and after enduro
drives with Brad Jones Racing and Garry
Rogers Motorsport, Pither was rewarded
with a prized full-time seat in the main
game with Super Black Racing for 2016.
The team’s faith was rewarded when
Pither scored a breakthrough pole position
at Queensland Raceway. The achievement
was the culmination of a long journey,
which started when the now 29-year-old
first came to Australia in 2005.
“When I came to Australia, I didn’t think
it was going to take me quite this long to
get into the main series,” says Pither.
“It was a passion and a dream of mine
from a very young age to race V8 Supercars.
It wasn’t something that I was going to give
up on. There have been plenty of times over
the last few years that have been tough. It
would have been easy to throw in the towel,
but I’m just so grateful now and thankful
for the opportunity from Super Black
Racing, Ice Break and all of my partners
throughout my career.”
After doing an apprenticeship that has
included Formula First, Formula Ford,
Toyota Racing Series, HQ Holdens, V8
Utes, the Development Series and some
Supercars starts with Team Kiwi, to finally
see that number #1 on top of the timing
screens in Australia’s premier category was
a truly special moment.
“I said at the time I had to pinch myself
driving into pitlane when my engineer
Dilan [Talabani] told me we were P1,” he
“I was still expecting half the field to
come around to complete their laps, but I
obviously held on. I was absolutely blown
away. I was just so pumped.”
After a slightly disappointing start to the
year, which included heavy accidents in
Adelaide and Symmons Plains, he’s proud
of how the team has managed to turn
“I was confident that we could do it if we
got it all right,” he says.
“To get that pole was a real boost for me,
for my confidence and awesome for our
little team. We’re a pretty tight-knit team
and it showed that when we get all the
ingredients right we can be at the front.
“It wasn’t going to be an easy task but
it’s absolutely ridiculous once you are out
there competing you are splitting hairs to
find hundredths of a second. I’m happy to
be out there living the dream and making
progress. The main thing is we’re moving
forward, whether making big steps or baby
steps, as long as we’re moving forward.”
WORDS John Bannon IMAGES Peter Norton
One of the surprises of the 2016 season was Chris Pither’s pole position for Super Black
Racing at Queensland Raceway. It was the culmination of a dream for the team and
driver, the latter having fought back to get a second chance in Supercars.
ABOVE: Pole position at Queensland Raceway highlighted Pither’s potential and proved an emotional milestone for
the tight-knit Super Black Racing outfit given the passing of team owner Tony Lentino.
V8X95 p70-72 Chris Pither.indd 71
29/09/2016 1:54 pm
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