Garry Rogers Motorsport will not be on the Supercars Championship grid next year. Team owner Garry Rogers confirmed that he would hand back the outfit’s two Racing Entitlements Contracts to Supercars at the end of this season after the series owners refused his pleas to extend today’s 2020 season entry deadline.
The team’s situation has been complicated by an ongoing dispute between its title sponsor, Boost Mobile, and Supercars over control components, with the category rejecting an ultimatum by Boost Mobile boss and former racing racing Peter Adderton who had threatened to pull his company’s sponsorship.
Unable to confirm whether it had sufficient financial backing to compete in 2020, Rogers opted to pull the pin on the team’s Supercars programme.
“I went to Supercars and requested an extension of a week or two to perhaps put a business plan together where we’d stay in the Supercars business, but they rejected that,” an emotional Rogers said in a videoed address to GRM staff.
“The Supercars business, I do it because I love doing it. It’s not a big financial gainer of any kind; we make some money some years, we lose some money some years, but we enjoy it and I enjoy it because of the people I do it with.”
GRM has been part of the Australian touring car scene since 1996. The Melbourne-based team achieved a total of 21 race wins – including victory at the Bathurst 1000 in 2000 – with the bulk of its later success coming through its partnership with Volvo and Polestar Racing between 2014-16.
Notable driving alumni include Steven Richards, Jason Bargwanna, Garth Tander, Jamie Whincup, Lee Holdsworth, Michael Caruso and Scott McLaughlin.
Often operating as a privateer, GRM has at times struggled to remain competitive financially and on the trace track.
He did not hold back in criticising Supercars organisers and rule-makers for failing to contain the costs needed to remain competitive.
“Supercars have tried, without success, to curtail the costs [increases],” he said. “They have not done a good job of that, and you we, as a team, couldn’t afford to keep doing it the way the rules are currently structured.
“So we just had to decide what we’re going to do. We had to make sure we kept our house rolling along.”
Rogers confirmed that the outfit would continue with its TCR Australia and S5000 open-wheel racing campaigns.
“We’re not going out of business, we’re in business,” said Rogers. “Our business might even grow more, I don’t know what we’ll do.
“We’ve got the TCR programme, we’ve got the S5000s, what else we do I don’t know. But I bet you London to a brick, the phone won’t stop ringing and the work won’t stop coming,” he told staff.
Rogers also praised the team’s longstanding fans.
“The punters over the hill, and over the telly, and the people you see in the pub… those are the people that are vital to sport of any kind,” he said.
“I won’t miss them because I’ll still be here.”
The announcement leaves the futures of current drivers Richie Stanaway and James Golding unclear.
GRM’s exit means that next year’s Supercars Championship grid will likely be, at most, 23 cars. Kelly Racing recently announced it was cutting its four-car operation down to two while also switching to Ford Mustang power next year, however this is partly offset by both Team 18 and TEKNO Autosports expanding to two-car operations, along with Brad Jones Racing expanding from three to four cars.
Images via Garry Rogers Motorsport