GRANT Denyer has opened up about the emotions of shaking off ‘pretender’ and ‘celebrity racer’ tags with his breakthrough maiden podium finish in a V8 Supercar.
During a wide-ranging chat on the V8 Sleuth Podcast powered by Timken, Denyer recalled his maiden season V8 Supercars’ Development Series – now known as the Super2 Series – with Dick Johnson Racing.
Listen to the episodes below!
Denyer’s time with DJR got off to a rocky start, badly damaging his car and sustaining both insult and injury in a massive crash on his third lap of qualifying for the opening round at the Clipsal 500.
However, by the penultimate event Denyer had achieved a breakthrough result.
He finished second overall for the Mallala round behind DJR teammate Dean Canto, sealed with a bold move on former V8 BRUtes sparring partner Warren Luff in the final corners of the final race.
“I really needed that result to restore my faith in myself after Clipsal (and) wondering: ‘Am I a pretender? Am I only here because of television and I’ve got sponsors?’” Denyer told the V8 Sleuth Podcast.
“I knew I had the talent, I just needed the time to apply it.
“I got this sniff of the podium and I wanted to make it a DJR 1-2. I remember I was behind Warren Luff. We’d had some ding-dong battles over the years; in all fairness, my car was probably better prepared than his was, but he had a lot more experience and pace – he’d been racing for years and years.
“I remember throwing it up the inside of him on the last lap in that quirky flip-flop bend just before the start-finish line and pulling that off.
“That was a hugely emotional moment for me, and probably the moment where it sunk in that ‘shit, I can do this. I can go all the way.’
“I dreamt of it when I was a kid that I could be Peter Brock, I could be Dick Johnson, I could be Craig Lowndes. Now I was at least on the right path.
“It felt like a massive weight lifted off, because I felt up to that point I’d pretended: I’d pretended to be a racing car driver; I’d pretended to know what I was doing and that I deserved to be there.
“I just needed the result to cement it.”
In the podcast Denyer reflects on his remarkable career to date in motorsport – both in front of the camera and behind the wheel.
Starting with his years as a broadcaster on the Trackside program that showcased all of V8 Supercars’ support categories, Denyer talks about the decisions that got him his big break on TV in landing the role as the weatherman for Channel 7’s Sunrise program.
He also talks about his years racing V8 Utes, his mid-race haircut on live TV, the race win that forever links him with David Thexton, racing in the Bathurst 1000 for Craig Gore, the moment he realised he had to choose between his driving and TV careers, plus a hilarious tale from a Bathurst 12 Hour racing with Tony Quinn and Klark Quinn.
Denyer’s more recent starts in the Bathurst 12 Hour also feature in our new collector’s book Bathurst: Going Global celebrating the GT era of the race over the last 10 years.
There’s a photo of every car to start or attempt to qualify for the Bathurst 12 Hour from 2011 to 2020, plus race review chapters and full results from each year’s race.