Garry Rogers reflected fondly on Alex Premat’s time with his team, after news broke this morning the fast Frenchman would move up the pit lane to co-drive with Shane van Gisbergen at Red Bull Racing Australia this year.
Premat has been a standout co-driver for the last two seasons with Rogers’ star recruit Scott McLaughlin, the pair earning a podium finish on the Gold Coast in 2014 and fifth place at last year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
In a shock move for the 2012 season, Rogers – who is known for having an eagle eye for motor racing talent – signed DTM pilot Premat as a full-time V8 Supercars driver.
While he was quick – earning a fourth place finish at the Clipsal 500 in his second season – he had a reputation as a ‘crasher’. But shifting to co-drive with McLaughlin for ’14 proved he had both the speed and control to mix it in the category’s most prestigious races.
“Alex was great to work with, he was a good part of what we did and it was an enjoyable time in our whole motor racing career. But everyone has to move on at times in their lives,” Rogers told v8supercars.com.au.
“We spoke to Alex, and Alex did a good job for us. That was a good time in our lives.”
Despite losing Premat to a rival squad, Rogers garnered some satisfaction in backing a driver who has turned into a valuable commodity as a V8 Supercars co-driver.
Wilson Security GRM has locked in last year’s full-timer David Wall as one of its two co-drivers and while Rogers said the team was organised for the enduros, a second driver has not been formally signed.
“We have got a few options, but at this stage all they are are options – other than talking about it in general discussion within the team we haven’t really progressed yet,” Rogers said.
The team fields a V8 Supercars Dunlop Series entry for James Golding, who could be a possibility as a second co-driver. He will tackle the development category in a new generation Holden Commodore prepared by GRM this year.
In the main game, the team welcomes James Moffat, who is pleased to be part of the Volvo squad and believes any mechanical issues that plagued the team last season will be a thing of the past.
“In the latter part of the year it appeared we were over those, but only time will tell,” Rogers said.
After spending Christmas overseas – including a stop in Sweden where Volvo’s performance arm Polestar Cyan Racing is based – Rogers is back on Australian soil and ready for the 2016 season.
“We’re hopping along pretty well – I’ve been kept informed by Barry [Rogers, son], Cowboy [team manager Dean Cowling] and co. as to what is going on,” he said.
“We really didn’t need to make any headway [from last year], we just needed to finish some races. That’s where our problem was and we believe we are in a better position with that.”
McLaughlin finished eighth in the Championship last season, after an impressive fifth in 2014.