THIS year marks the 20th anniversary of Garry Rogers Motorsport’s first and – so far – only Bathurst 1000 win.
Back in 2000 the team claimed victory via Garth Tander and Jason Bargwanna, who steered their #34 Valvoline Cummins Commodore VT through a difficult wet day to conquer the Mountain for the first time.
The win came in Tander’s third start in the race and Bargwanna’s fifth – the duo led just 17 of the 161 laps, however swept home to victory just over two seconds clear of the Shell DJR Falcon AU of Paul Radisich and Jason Bright.
The 2000 victory by GRM is included in the ‘Racing the Lion’ book, our 400 page hardcover collector’s edition book documenting the history of Holden in Australian motorsport – it’s available to order here now and features a page devoted to all of Holden’s 33 Bathurst 500/1000 winners.
“I remember being quite nervous at the start of the race, we knew we were in (with) a shot to win,” Bargwanna told the V8 Sleuth Podcast earlier this year.
“I don’t get quite nervous at the start of race meetings but I felt on that day we knew we could do it.
“That first stint in pouring rain I remember driving off the start down to turn one, pulling gears and not being able to see anything outside the windscreen and looking out the side window passing cars I couldn’t even see. That set the tone for the day.
“For me, the little incident with Matt Neal, Cromley and Skaife was a real turning point in our day. The pressure was on all of us and we were in the hunt, but I just watched that happen and, I don’t know how to explain it, but I just knew we had the day won – we were going to win.
“There were points in the day … we really needed the weather to change at the right time in terms of our strategy but it did. We went from wets to slicks right at the critical time with fuel and it ended up working out alright.”
As Bargwanna well remembers, his winning partner Tander ended up with a very sore backside after the race too!
“We’ve all had burnt feet and bits and pieces but because we had a difference in height, the seating was very different, and his butt was very low in the seat and a bit closet to the exhaust and he ended up with blisters on his bum,” recalls Bargwanna.
“He was literally cooked on the podium!”
Listen here to the full V8 Sleuth Podcast Episode with Jason Bargwanna – in addition to Bathurst 2000 we also cover a range of other topics, including his early days racing on two wheels, the white lie he told his bank in order to buy his first race car, his time in the Peter Jackson Search for a Champion competition and Holden Young Lions program and much, much more.
This year Bargwanna’s old team, GRM, is returning to Bathurst as a wildcard entry with rookies Tyler Everingham and Jayden Ojeda behind the wheel of the #40 Commodore ZB – see the full field for the 2020 race here.