- Date of Birth: October 15, 1992
- Home: Rochester, IL
- Website: http://www.tannerwhittenracing.com
- 2015: 12 starts, 1 win, 3 podiums, 5 heat wins, 376 points, 5th overall (Lites)
- CAREER: 12 starts, 1 win, 3 podiums, 5 heat wins, 376 points (Lites)
After two long years of waiting, Tanner Whitten finally got behind the wheel of a GRC Lites race for the first time in 2015. Now, it’s all about taking the next step into a Supercar for the Illinois native.
One of the Lites car’s original test drivers when it was under development in 2012, Whitten was essentially a rookie in name only when he finally made his race debut in Fort Lauderdale. Running as high as second in the opener, he took three podiums in the first five races of the season, including a victory in the doubleheader in Detroit, and even spent about a month leading the standings.
This year, it’s all about chasing wins, as Whitten will run a half schedule at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. It’s a bold move, but one with great potential to pay off, as DRR captured four victories in its first year running a Lites team in 2015. Whitten will pair with rookie Cabot Bigham to run in Dallas, Daytona, Seattle, and the season-ending Los Angeles doubleheader.
His bid for a Lites championship may have fallen short last year due to some bad luck late in the season, but with the pressure of racing for points off, Whitten can stretch his legs and run at full bore every time he’s in the car. Limited-schedule drivers have impressed plenty in the past in Red Bull GRC, with Jeff Ward’s Supercar debut in Daytona and Andreas Wernersson’s runner-up finish in the 2015 Lites finale serving as prime examples.
Don’t be surprised to see Whitten in consideration for a Supercar seat in 2017, if all goes well this year. He’s been patient in the past—sitting out the first two years of Lites while putting his initial program together—but there’s nothing more dangerous than a driver who feels like his time has come, and Whitten finds himself firmly in that mindset.