GRM plans wildcards for James Golding

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 13/02/2017
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus
 
James Golding is set to make two wildcard appearances in the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship after missing out on a full-time drive.
 
Garry Rogers Motorsport has confirmed to Supercars.com its intention to run Golding at two events, taking advantage of new rules for Dunlop Super2 Series teams this year.
 
Golding, 21, finished fourth in last year’s Super2 Series but finds himself without a full-time drive in either Supercars tier for 2017.
 
Instead, GRM will run Golding as a wildcard, most likely at Winton and Queensland Raceway, before his Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver duties begin in September.
 
Team director Barry Rogers told Supercars.com that only circumstances have kept Golding from returning to GRM's Super2 team this year.
 
The Melbourne-based team will again field two cars in the second-tier, with its driver line-up set to be announced next week.  
 
“When Scott (McLaughlin) informed us last year that he was going to Penske our intention straight away was to run Golding in the main game,” Rogers told Supercars.com.
 
“The Garth (Tander) option was talked about a lot in the press, but it didn’t become a serious possibility until after Sandown.
 
“By that time Garry had already committed to the two guys that we are going to run in Super2 and he didn’t want to go back on his word on that.
 
“Unfortunately the way it worked out left James out to dry a little bit, but there are plenty of drivers over the years who have had to wait their turn.
 
“With the program we’ve got for him across practice sessions, wildcards and enduros he’ll be doing plenty of laps.”
Golding's wildcards will utilise one of the team's new Super2 Commodores, which have recently been completed at the squad's Melbourne base.
 
Rogers stressed that the decision to take Tander over Golding for the main series seat was not influenced by the youngster’s rough run through his rookie Pirtek Enduro Cup campaign.
 
Paired with James Moffat, Golding suffered a heavy crash on the opening lap at Sandown after failing to slow for a deflating tyre which had been damaged in a Turn 1 tangle.
 
He then crashed again in practice at Bathurst aboard the #34 Volvo before also finding the wall in the subsequent Super2 race.
 
“Garry is a firm believer that you can slow drivers down but you can’t speed them up,” said Rogers.
 
“When you look at it Garth has probably crashed more GRM cars than anyone over the years.
 
“They tried to get him banned when he first started with us (in 1998) because he kept crashing cars!
 
“It’s just motor racing. What happened with James at Bathurst had no influence on the decision.
 
“In the end Garth showed last year that he’s still one of the very best drivers in this championship and the opportunity to sign him was too good to pass up.”
 
Tander is understood to have been the preferred option for Wilson Security, who have re-signed as GRM’s major sponsor for 2017.
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