Rogers considers next young gun

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 28/06/2016
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Garry Rogers says there is a “list of people” who could replace departing Scott McLaughlin including emerging Dunlop Series driver James Golding.

But Rogers says he’s had no discussions about McLaughlin’s replacement as he focuses on the season ahead starting with next week’s Castrol EDGE Townsville 400.

“I haven’t even thought about Scott Pye or anyone else for that matter, because as far as I’m concerned Townsville is the next round, let’s get on with that,” Rogers told supercars.com.  

“To me, we will have the right cars and the right team and therefore we will attract the right driver when we need to do so. I’m really not that focussed on getting involved in driver discussions at this point in time.”

Rogers was rumoured to have spoken to Scott Pye last year before securing James Moffat for 2016.

Other drivers out of contract include HRT duo and former champs James Courtney and Garth Tander, Darwin winner Michael Caruso and Bathurst winner Nick Percat.

GRM currently runs a Supercars Dunlop Series entry for James ‘Bieber’ Golding, who has been confirmed as an endurance co-driver. Rogers mentioned him as a possible candidate for the empty seat in 2017.

“Obviously Bieber is there in the background – that’s not to say he will be just a natural choice, he may not be – but certainly the way he’s going he could be ok too.

“But there’s quite a list of people out there I think would fit the bill. It won’t be easy to get another guy with the same driving skill but I think if the team is good enough we’ll get the driver who has got the skills and we’ll be able to get the best out of them.”

Known for discovering and developing young talent in Supercars, Rogers is pleased to have seen McLaughlin grow since entering the category full-time in 2013. His first drive was, in fact, the 2012 grand finale at Sydney Olympic Park when he subbed for Alex Premat who was suffering from heat exhaustion. McLaughlin had just won the Dunlop Series title and went on to win a race for GRM quickly in his rookie year.

“It’s extremely satisfying going back in time and seeing when Scott arrived here from the Dunlop Series – he had been with the Stone Brothers and no one had really given him the chance to get in the main game,” Rogers said.

“He came here and we got behind him as a team and certainly look at his application to his life, not just his driving, and everything and he’s learnt from being here.

“It does make me extremely proud – it doesn’t mean they do need to move along just because they’ve been here for a certain time … there’s no hard feelings from my point of view, I really enjoyed the time we spent with him.

“We feel extremely proud for both the team and everyone at the team that’s gotten behind him. Certainly the way he’s conducted himself, he’s a very sensible young man… believe me, he’ll be the enemy from January 1 – but still a friend.”

Rogers said Golding’s performance in the Pirtek Enduro Cup wouldn’t necessarily be the deciding factor. The 20-year old has recorded a race win this season in his Dunlop Series Holden Commodore, two second place finishes and sits third in the standings.

“We have to go back in time – we’ve believed in him (Golding) from the very start in Formula Ford days and we’ve gone down the route we had in mind for him and nothing has changed,” Rogers said.  

“We’re just taking each race meeting as it comes – we’re not disenchanted at all with his performances, in fact I think he’s going very well.”

Despite the confirmation Volvo would not continue on with the team in 2017, Rogers clarified that would not change Moffat’s deal – Moffat is locked in for next year at GRM. Rogers says the plan is to continue running Volvos next year though some points still need “to be clarified”.

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