Veteran team owner Garry Rogers is excited to be contesting another Bathurst 1000 but unemotional about it being his last with Holden before becoming Volvo’s factory representative in the V8 Supercars Championship in 2014.
Rogers celebrates his 50th year of motor racing as a driver or team owner in 2013, the vast bulk of that completed using Holdens including the current Garry Rogers Motorsport Fujitsu Holden Commodore VFs that will be campaigned in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 by Scott McLaughlin/Jack Perkins and Alex Premat/Greg Ritter.
Rogers’ Mount Panorama highlights include Garth Tander and Jason Bargwanna’s victory in the 2000 race in a GRM Valvoline Holden Commodore VT, and memorable wins in the 2002 and 2003 Bathurst 24-hour races using Monaros built in-house.
The Monaro program was conducted when GRM was part of Holden’s official motorsport effort.
However, for the last few years GRM has been a privateer operation, albeit continuing to campaign Commodore sheetmetal. And that’s why Rogers isn’t too sentimental about the parting of the ways.
“We really haven’t been there with Holden for five years,” Rogers said. “Going to Bathurst with or without Holden doesn’t add to our motivation level. There is always motivation every single day of your life.
“If you need Bathurst or a race meeting or a significant moment in your life to get you motivated then don’t bother getting out of bed.”
However, Rogers said he might shed a tear if GRM did manage a win at Bathurst in his 50th year of racing: “I do shed a few tears here and there and I am not ashamed of it either.”
GRM has shown excellent form this year, with rookie McLaughlin breaking through for two wins and currently sitting 10th in the Championship. But Rogers doesn’t think that form line means the team can expect a better result than in recent years, which included a third place finish for Lee Holdsworth and Michael Caruso in 2009.
“I think our chances are really solid this year and I think we have been solid for the last handful of years,” Rogers said.
Rogers’s recipe for winning success at Bathurst includes having a little bit of luck, calm drivers and a quality crew.
“The crew has to have normality, be decent people, have a sense of well-being, a sense of right and wrong, common-sense and the ability to have a lot of fun,” Rogers said.
GRM has managed to stay competitive through much of 2013, despite pulling double duty racing its Commodores and preparing for the Volvo program. Rogers said that achievement was a tribute to the quality of his employees.
GRM is developing a Car of the Future version of the Volvo S60 in cooperation with the Swedish company’s global motorsport and technology partner Polestar Racing. Support for the deal is coming from GRM’s existing group of sponsors and Volvo Car Australia.
The three-year deal was announced in June, testing will begin in December and the car will race for the first time at the Clipsal 500 in February 2014.
Rogers, an Aussie Rules football fan, said the atmosphere at Bathurst ranked up there with the start of the AFL Grand Final.
“I love the AFL Grand Final, I reckon the start of that game is spinal tingling. But I reckon the start of Bathurst, the first few laps and the atmosphere is a really good feeling.”