McLaughlin: 'I wouldn't be here without Garry Rogers'
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
By Lewis Isaacs
Scott McLaughlin has paid tribute to former team boss Garry Rogers in an emotional interview on Inside Supercars.
The new Shell V-Power Racing driver joined Garry Rogers Motorsport in 2013 at the age of 19, spending four seasons and claiming eight race wins for both Volvo and Holden.
While 2017 marks his first Virgin Australia Supercars Championship campaign outside of the squad, McLaughlin singled out the veteran team owner for helping him develop on and off the track.
“If it wasn't for Garry I wouldn't be the person I am today,” he told Greg Rust on Inside Supercars.
“My Mum and Dad they've done a lot for me, but Garry, in regards to being a person who wasn't part of the family... he gave me lots of pieces of advice..
“He always said be yourself in front of the camera and in interviews.
“Right now, he's the one that helped with me this and to be comfortable in this environment. 'Be yourself'. He taught me how to do that.”
The Kiwi driver explained how taking his first win in front of his home crowd at Pukekohe in 2013 was one that will remain with him and the team for a long time to come.
“It was the most surreal, amazing day of my life,” he added.
“I guess in some ways I came of age. When you saw Garry crying and some of the boys crying, (engineer) Richard Hollway, I wish I could go back mate.
“I honestly wish I could drive those last two laps because the feeling and the goosebumps when you're driving past the fans cheering and you can hear them, you'll never live it again.”
McLaughlin took his first championship race win at Pukekohe in 2013
McLaughlin also explained how the transition from Holden to Volvo in 2014 galvanised the team amid off-season conjecture how it would fare.
“We copped a lot of flak before that race and about Volvo drivers and jokes,” he said.
“There was so much fire in the belly of all those blokes and girls at GRM to come out and smash everyone or try to… to be battling with Jamie (Whincup) that hard and that early in the championship was pretty special.
“That battle was, I have to thank Jamie a lot for it, he gave me room to be able to pull-off some moves and I did the same to him.
“I feel like we've really had a respect for each other since then. A high level of respect.”
While McLaughlin was the key figure in last year’s driver market, he recalled the moment he had to explain to Rogers he would be leaving his outfit after four seasons for DJR Team Penske.
“I remember telling him (Rogers) I won’t be signing another deal,” McLaughlin concluded.
“They had offered me a deal obviously and I couldn't take it. It was pretty hard.
“I choked up a little bit and was a bit nervous about the whole thing.
“I think I was just nervous because the guy gave me a shot and if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be here.
“I'll always remember that and be grateful for it. But the guy understands we had to move on.”