Back to the future for Garth and Garry!
WHAT cars will Garry Rogers Motorsport run in the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship has been confirmed by the team owner himself in a newsletter distributed online this afternoon.
GRM will run a pair of brand new Holden Commodore VFs utilising Walkinshaw Racing-supplied engines for the returning Garth Tander and James Moffat having made the decision to build not only two new chassis for the Dunlop Series but also two new chassis for the VASC.
“I cannot emphasise how proud I am of all the girls and boys at GRM who changed holiday plans and other family events in an effort to complete a task that many would see as impossible,” said team boss Garry Rogers.
“The normal build time for a Supercar from the first chassis bars being welded to the time it would debut is approximately 16 weeks. We had to build two brand new cars in less than 10 weeks, while also completing the final build stages on the two new Development Series (DVS) cars we are preparing for the 2017 Dunlop Series.
“In effect four new cars were being built inside five months, with no additions to our workforce!
“This could only happen with the commitment, generosity, assistance and input of many people. Of course the core of this are the GRM workers. We chose to build Commodores as we had raced them in the inaugural COTF season in 2013 and were familiar with them.
“Following the 2013 season we had sold our two VFs and many of the associated parts, moulds and accessories. Tony Klein (Dragon Motorsport) owns the 2013 cars and much of the associated equipment. Tony has been a great help in enabling us access to much of this equipment so as we can have these cars built in time for the test day in one month’s time.
“Walkinshaw have also assisted in engine supply. This is not as simple as it seems as engines for Supercar racing are certainly not of the ‘off the shelf” variety.
“Adrian Burgess quickly assembled his workforce to produce engines to cater for our needs, and again this would have resulted in people’s Christmas plans been disrupted.
“Following the Volvo factory withdrawal our plan was to still utilise the Volvo, which we had invested thousands of man hours and obviously a considerable financial sum to first design, develop, build and homologate, but the hurdle that we encountered was engine supply.
“I know that there was talk of us potentially running a generic Supercar engine (Chev) in the Volvo S60, but this did not sit well with me. Over the years I have competed in many different categories but the two main categories have been Touring Car Racing (Supercars) and Sports Sedans.
“Having tried extremely hard to secure the Volvo V8 engines that had been developed and built in Sweden, which had absolutely no use except in Supercar racing, we ultimately failed. The choice that I was left with was ‘do we run the Volvo chassis with a Chev engine?’
“I like to think that as much as I am getting on in years I am also a ‘modern thinker’, but also a traditionalist. The traditionalist in me knew it was not the right thing to run a Chev engine in a Volvo chassis in a Touring Car category.”
Tander makes his return to GRM for the first time since 2004, while the team returns to racing Commodores after three season in the Volvo S60s from 2014 to 2016.