Garry Rogers Motorsport
|Team Principal||Garry Rogers|
|Team Manager||Kevin Shawyer|
|Race Drivers||33. Scott McLaughlin
34. Alexandre Prémat
|Chassis||Holden VF Commodore|
|2012 position||8th (2853 pts)|
Garry Rogers Motorsport is an Australian motor racing team. The team is owned by retired racing driver Garry Rogers who began the team to further has own racing efforts. Based in Melbourne, originally out of a Nissan dealership owned by Rogers, the team has competed in a variety of touring car series in Australia ranging from relatively modest Nissan production cars to Chevrolet NASCARs to building GT specification Holden Monaros. The team won the Bathurst 1000 once in 2000, and also won both of the Bathurst 24 Hour races which were held in 2002 and 2003.
Rogers has been famed as a talent spotter with a number of future champions and Bathurst winners finding their feet within GRM, including Steven Richards, Jason Bargwanna, Garth Tander, Jamie Whincup and Lee Holdsworth.
The team presently races a pair of Holden Commodores in the International V8 Supercars Championship with New Zealander Scott McLaughlin and Frenchman Alexandre Prémat as the teams' two drivers. In June 2013 it was announced the team would become Volvo Polestar Racing in 2014 with Volvo Cars supporting the teams transition to racing Volvo S60s.
The early years
Garry Rogers Motorsport has its origins in Garry Rogers' own exploits in Sports Sedans during the late 1960s and the 1970s. In the mid-1970s Rogers got more serious, running a BDA Escort in Sports Sedans with some success, before moving onto an ex-Ian Geoghegan Holden Monaro. Around this time, in late 1978, Rogers also moved into the Australian Touring Car Championship as a privateer in an ex-Bob Jane Holden Torana. He ran through until the end of 1979 in touring cars before turning his attention back to Sports Sedans, putting in a big effort in the 1981 Australian Sports Sedan Championship driving a Holden Torana LX SS A9X Hatchback.
The team disbanded while Rogers concentrated on his Nissan dealership and he drove for other teams at the Bathurst 1000, including Allan Browne's Re-Car team in 1982, as well as driving with Melbourne "Gentleman" Peter Janson at the 1984 Castrol 500 at Sandown, and the James Hardie 1000 in Janson's Holden VH Commodore 1984.
GRM re-emerged in 1986 when he ran purchased a BMW 635 CSi from the JPS Team BMW and drove it throughout that year's touring car season. The year included a win in one of the AMSCAR Series races at Amaroo Park. After spending 1987 on ice, the team came back in late-1988 with a Les Small (Roadways Racing) prepared, but unsponsored Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV at the Tooheys 1000, sharing the drive with American John Andretti, the nephew of motor racing legend Mario Andretti. Rogers had originally wanted Mario to drive with him at Bathurst, hoping his high profile would help land a major sponsor, but the 1978 World Champion was unavailable and suggested his nephew as a replacement.
The Commodore was also run throughout the 1989 Australian Touring Car Championship. In the early 1990s GRM turned its attention to the Calder Park Thunderdome and the AUSCAR series running a variety of Ford Falcons during the category's heyday (during the 1990's AUSCAR fields were dominated by the Holden Commodore). At first, Rogers drove the car himself alongside Paul Fordham. Garry slowly eased himself out of regular driving, putting Steven Richards in the seat. The team also secured a major sponsor in Valvoline along the way.
In this time the team also competed in Production Car racing at events such as the Winton 300 and Bathurst 12 Hour. The team used a Nissan Pulsar and a 300ZX due to Rogers' links with Nissan (he owns a Nissan dealership in Melbourne). Rogers also ran and then assisted Formula Ford teams during the 1990s, helping title sponsor Valvoline's promotion of Australian motorsport, as well as helping drivers Steven Richards and a tall, lanky kid from Perth named Garth Tander.
GRM joined the fledging Australian Super Touring Car Championship in 1994 with young lead driver Steven Richards piloting the teams Alfa Romeo 155. Quickly Richards was established as one of the series leading privateers, finishing ninth in the burgeoning championship. In 1995 the team replaced the Alfa with a Honda Accord and used it to win the Privateers Cup and finished fifth in the championship behind the two factory supported BMWs and Audis. The team continued into 1996, replacing the Honda with a Nissan Primera but the teams form slipped, distracted by their new V8 Supercar and finished seventh, losing the Privateers Cup to Cameron McLean.
V8 Supercar Series
Garry Rogers Motorsport joined the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1996 with Richards a driving a Holden VS Commodore sourced from Gibson Motor Sport. The team expanded to two cars in 1998, with Jason Bargwanna driving the second car. Richards went to the United Kingdom for a test drive with the Nissan team in the British Touring Car Championship and was replaced by 1997 Australian Formula Ford champion Garth Tander.
The 2000 season remains the team's most successful season to date. Tander won three rounds (including the Bathurst 1000 with Bargwanna) and finished runner-up to Mark Skaife in the title. Tander led the series early in the season but a couple of bad rounds in the middle of the season allowed Skaife to take the championship lead. Compared to 2000, 2001 was a poor season for the team, with Tander and Bargwanna finishing 10th and 15th in the points respectively and a best finish of 2nd for Tander in Canberra. Bargwanna took his final win for the team at Surfers Paradise in 2002 before switching to Larkham Motor Sport for the 2003 season. He was replaced by 2002 Australian Formula Ford champion Jamie Whincup.
GRM was one of the first teams to use the Holden VY Commodore for the 2003 season, with Tander driving the new model car. Whincup would drive an older model VX Commodore. Whincup was sacked at the end of the season and was replaced by Cameron McConville for 2004. McConville took the team's first round win in two years in controversial circumstances at Winton when he passed Rick Kelly on the second last corner of the race just after the end of a yellow flag zone. Tander left the team at the end of 2004 for what was then called Kmart Racing and was replaced by Andrew Jones. Jones was sacked before the end of the 2005 season and was replaced by Dean Canto for the end of 2005 and the 2006 season. Lee Holdsworth also joined the 2006, with McConville moving to Paul Weel Racing. The team scored one race win in 2006 with Canto winning the reverse grid race at Barbagallo after Team Kiwi Racing driver Paul Radisich spun off the track at the last corner.
2007 saw the team's first major livery change since joining the sport, with the traditional blue, white and red replaced by black, silver and red. Major sponsor Repco also left the team. Holdsworth and Canto remained with the team with Canto driving a new Holden VE Commodore. Holdsworth remained in a VZ Commodore until the Queensland Raceway round. Holdsworth was involved in a serious crash in Roudn 4 at Winton when his car slid off the circuit and went backwards into the wall at high speed. Holdsworth rebounded quickly to score his maiden V8 Supercar round win at Oran Park Raceway. After qualifying a career best 4th, Holdsworth dominated the final race of the weekend in very wet weather after a good strategy call from the team at the start of the race. Holdsworth was commended for his composure during the race while other, more experienced drivers made errors.
Michael Caruso joined the team for 2008, replacing Canto. No wins came for the team in this season, however Holdsworth finished 2nd at the Clipsal 500 and he and Caruso finished 5th at the L&H 500. Caruso won his first race in 2009, holding off a late race charge from Alex Davison in the Sunday race at Hidden Valley. Holdsworth was again on the podium at the Clipsal 500, finishing 2nd in the Saturday race. The team also achieved a podium at Bathurst, with Holdsworth and Caruso finishing 3rd. The second car of Greg Ritter and David Besnard looked like being in a position to win the race in the closing stages before a poorly timed safety car meant that they only finished 9th.
2010 saw the team's major sponsor change from Valvoline to Fujitsu with the livery changing in accordance, to red and white separated by black lines. The Clipsal 500 saw Holdsworth finish on the podium at the event for the third year in a row, Holdsworth taking 3rd place on Sunday. The team came very close to winning the Bathurst 1000, with Holdsworth and Besnard leading the majority of the race. A drive-through penalty for speeding in pit lane with thirty laps to go meant that the pair would only finish in 7th place, while Caruso and Ritter finished 10th. Holdsworth won the final race of the year at Sydney 500 after taking both pole positions for the event.
Holdsworth and Caruso entered their fourth season as team mates in 2011. Holdsworth scored a pair of podiums, one at Hamilton and one at Winton.
In 2002 Holden Motorsport was looking at running a Holden Monaro in the Bathurst 24 Hour endurance sports car race against the likes of Lamborghini Diablo GTR, Ferrari F360, Chrysler Viper and Porsche 911 GT3. GRM was given the job of building the car as well as running it. The car ran a GRM developed version of the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R 427cui motor, built by the teams engine builder, Mike Excel. The car was controversial thanks to its 7.0 litre V8 as the road going Monaro was only equipped with the smaller, 5.7 litre Gen III V8. Many felt that it was the smaller engine the car should have been using as all other cars in Australian Nations Cup Championship were required to use production based engines the same capacity as their road going versions. However, Nations Cup managers PROCAR Australia (run by long time Dick Johnson Racing sponsor Ross Palmer), gave Holden special permission to use the 427 V8 in the Monaro in order to better compete with the V12 Lamborghini and the V10 Dodge Viper.
In its race debut, the 2002 Bathurst 24 Hour, Tander qualified the #427 car in second spot behind the N-GT Ferrari F360 driven by John Bowe. The car suffered an early flat tyre which dropped it to second behind the Cirtek Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 of David Brabham. This was followed just a few hours into the race when the entire fuel cell of the Monaro needed to be replaced, dropping the car 13 laps behind the Porsche. The team overcame the fuel cell problem, and by the 18 hour mark had clawed their way back to second place before the Porsche struck trouble causing the car to pit for 4 laps, giving the Monaro time to re-take the lead, which was done despite the car pitting at the same time as the Porsche to replace a fan belt for the second time. The car, driven by Garth Tander, Steven Richards, Cameron McConville and Nathan Pretty, ran in the lead for the last 5 hours to win the race by 24 laps from the British entered Mosler MT900R of Martin Short. It was then expected that regular GRM V8 Supercar driver Tander would drive the car in the 2003 Australian Nations Cup Championship, but it was Nathan Pretty who was given the drive, going on to score numerous race wins in the series, but not the title.
In 2003 GRM built a second car for the legendary Peter Brock. Brock had driven the Bathurst winning Monaro at the Nations Cup support racing at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, winning all four races. He then drove the car in the Nations Cup Championship alongside the #427 car, though he didn't win again until the final round at Surfers Paradise. Pretty and Brock finished 3rd and 4th in the 2003 Championship. It was this second car which won the 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour with Jason Bright, Todd Kelly and Greg Murphy sharing the driving with Brock. The winning car from 2002, driven by the same four drivers as the previous year finished second, less than one second behind after 24 hours of racing. With seven minutes to go in the race, and with the two Monaro's running nose to tail, Garry Rogers gave the drivers (Murphy and Tander) permission to race each other to the finish, with orders to respect the work put into the event by the team and not to take each other out.
One more Monaro was built in late 2003, with Peter Brock and his son James to run as Team Brock in the 2004 Australian Nations Cup Championship. Peter Brock drove his Bathurst winning car alongside James in the new car, with GRM running the original car car, nicknamed the "Nuclear Banana", for Nathan Pretty. Of the three, Pretty had the best championship run, finishing second behind the Lamborghini of Paul Stokell. James Brock finished the series in fourth place while Peter Brock finished the championship in sixth place despite not contesting all rounds.
- "Volvo confirms entry into V8 Supercars". Auto Action (NineMSN). 17 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-17.