Chris Pither has been drafted in to replace rookie Andre Heimgartner at Super Black Racing in this weekend’s WD-40 Phillip Island Super Sprint.
Super Black Racing is the second team to make a driver change ahead of the penultimate event of the season, with Dean Canto confirmed as a replacement for Ash Walsh at Erebus Motorsport and Karl Reindler on standby at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport should Nick Percat not recover from severe infection in time.
With speculation already rife that Pither is set to take over the #111 Ford next season, Super Black Racing say the switch is to allow the team to assess Pither for a potential 2016 race seat.
The 28-year-old New Zealander currently competes in the Dunlop Series in a Prodrive-built Falcon and has been a co-driver in the endurance races for the past four seasons with Brad Jones Racing and most recently with Garry Rogers Motorsport.
“We are using Phillip Island to evaluate Chris for next season so we look forward to seeing how he settles in,” said Super Black Racing owner Tony Lentino.
“He has experience, is passionate and understands the V8 Supercars landscape well, plus he is a Kiwi too which is obviously an important factor when selecting a driver for New Zealand’s only V8 Supercars team.
“Andre Heimgartner will sit out this weekend and while we understand this has been a difficult situation for him, he has accepted it and both parties agree this change is in the team’s best interest.
“It’s hard being a rookie in this game and being with a rookie team has added to the challenge this year.
“This isn’t necessarily the end of our partnership but we’ll get through Phillip Island and evaluate things from there.”
Eager to step up into the V8 Supercars Championship, Pither is ready to show what he can do behind the wheel of the Super Black Racing Falcon ahead of next season.
“I’d like to thank Tony and the team at Super Black Racing for giving me the opportunity to race at Phillip Island,” said Pither.
“It is a genuine opportunity for me to show what I can do and to learn about the team as we look at the potential to work together in 2016.”