‘He gave me my chance’: Drivers thank Rogers

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 18/10/2019
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

A host of drivers given their first chance in Supercars by Garry Rogers Motorsport have expressed their sadness over the team’s impending exit from the category.

Rogers announced via in an emotional speech that his squad will not continue beyond 2019, ending a 24-year stint in the class.

Inducted into the Supercars Hall of Fame in 2015, the Melbourne-based car dealer has long added colour and humour to the Supercars grid.

Rogers’ legacy in Supercars though will stand as his willingness to give young drivers a shot, bringing a host of future champions and Bathurst winners into the championship.

Among them are current champion Scott McLaughlin, Jamie Whincup, Garth Tander, Steven Richards, Jason Bargwanna and Jason Bright.

Those given their first full-time chance by the team also include Lee Holdsworth, Michael Caruso and current GRM driver James Golding.

“I’m really saddened,” McLaughlin told Supercars.com following the announcement, having moved from GRM to DJR Team Penske at the end of 2016.

“Outside my family, Garry would be in the top three most important people who influenced my career. In terms of Supercars, I put him above everyone. He gave me my chance.

“He brought in so many good people over the years, not only drivers, but fantastic workers in the sport who have gone on to bigger and better things.

“He’s not afraid to give people a chance, that’s one thing I’ll always be incredibly grateful for from Garry.”

While known as a jokester, Rogers has also proved ruthless on occasion, famously sacking Whincup after a difficult rookie season in 2003.

More recently, Tander was a shock departure ahead of 2019 when a sponsor shortage was filled by Boost and its driver Richie Stanaway.

Rogers' approach has also included many of his young drivers - such as former apprentice McLaughlin - working on the cars they drive.

“When I first met him I was terrified of him, but when he realised I could half-steer he gave me a chance,” explained McLaughlin.

“It was basically a six-month deal [for 2013]. Garry could have gotten rid of me at any time, but once I won my first race there was a three-year contract on the table.

“That’s how he works. He gives you a chance but not too much rope, so you’ve got to dig in and really do something.

“One thing he taught me that has stayed with me through my career is that you get what you’re given.

“No matter if you have a bad car or a good car or whatever, you drive that thing as hard as you can. What will be will be.

“That’s how I’ve tried to carry myself, to make the most of my bad days, and a lot of that is because of what Garry taught me.”

During his announcement speech, Rogers pointed to the Bathurst win in 2000 with Tander and Bargwanna, and the era with McLaughlin and Volvo as his highlights.

GRM will continue as a racing team beyond 2019, carrying on its commitments in other categories.

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