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A classic Cadillac Eldorado convertible sits in a corner of the Garry Rogers Motorsport (GRM) workshop. Amid the current and past GRM racers, the leviathan rag-top highlights the eccentricity of the team’s colourful founder.
Only Garry Rogers would cherish a gold roofless 1974 Caddy with a white interior and bull horns on its prow. The barge-like boulevardier has a lazy big V8 driving the front wheels and an elongated bicycle chain runs under the dash to facilitate the left to right-hand-drive conversion of the steering. Such were the ’70s.
Neither agile nor subtle, the anachronous machine is a bit like Rogers himself. Outgoing, ostentatious, old-school, slow-moving. Back problems have restricted the 73-year-old’s gait around the paddock, but his sense of humour and outrageousness are undiminished.
In recent years, Rogers has shared the running of his eponymous squad with his son Barry, who manages the day-to-day operations and has become an increasingly high-profile presence as the emerging face of GRM.
Together, they are ensuring the nation’s longest-established motor-racing team – celebrating 55 years this season – remains a family affair. Although not as outspoken or irreverent as his father, Barry Rogers is similarly down to earth and unpretentious.
Wilson Security Racing GRM continues to embrace new and old talent at its typically no-frills base at unglamorous Dandenong South in southeast Melbourne. It’s a place where everybody has a (usually obscure) nickname and everybody mucks in.
Following the messy end of a mostly front-running three years with Volvo – and the coincident loss of rising superstar Scott McLaughlin – GRM last year reverted to Commodores. Garth Tander’s return to where he started his stellar Supercars career has given the tight-knit team much needed stability and experience, as well as acting as a mentor to Rogers’ latest protégé, rookie James Golding.
As you might expect, a conversation with the Rogers is fun, candid and unusually expansive. They speak their minds at length and without fear.
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