Rogers: Volvo deal a perfect 50-year present
Veteran team owner Garry Rogers says that sealing Volvo factory backing for his V8 Supercars effort is the proudest moment in his half century involvement in motor racing.
Volvo has signed a multi-year deal to enter V8 Supercars with Garry Rogers Motorsport, which will field two S60s under the Volvo Polestar Racing banner from 2014.
While Volvo remains tight-lipped over specifics of the arrangement, the multi-million dollar investment is believed to signal the biggest factory effort currently in the category, surpassing the spend of 2013 newcomer Nissan as well as stalwarts Holden and Ford.
“It is a nice way to celebrate 50 years in the business this year,” an ebullient Rogers told Speedcafe.com at the Brisbane launch.
“It is a great day and its massive. We’ve just got to enjoy this moment and then get our heads down and bums up and get on with it.”
Although neither were present at the launch, Rogers says that his incumbent drivers Alex Premat and Scott McLaughlin are “locked in” for next year.
“They are locked in (Premat and McLaughlin),” he said, before warning: “(But) all our contracts … my contract is conditional on me doing a job. When we have people who don’t do the job they’ve got to go and (thankfully) we’ve never been grey in that area.”
Swedish factory driver Robert Dahlgren has been part of the Volvo effort for 10 years and was on hand at today’s announcement.
However the 33-year-old, a former team-mate with Aussies Will Power and James Courtney in F3, was acting in a capacity as helping out with the global launch of the S60 Polestar road-car which coincided with the Volvo V8 Supercar announcement.
Rogers confirmed that his current major backer Fujitsu and long-time partner Valvoline have welcomed the team’s new-look.
“Valvoline have been with me for 25 years and we’ve done four years with Fujitsu because they see this as a great opportunity,” he said.
“No doubt this is a big day but as you get older your outlook changes,” he continued.
“If you would have said to me (almost 50 years ago) I would have said I just want to get in the bloody car and drive the thing.
“But now there is a business around you and people depend on you for your living and to get to this stage it is extremely rewarding.
“They are all very positive about being able to utilise this as the image of the team.”
Rogers said he had spoken to a lot of potential manufacturers including Chrysler when the Volvo discussions first surfaced in September last year.
“Then it started to gain some wheels,” he said.
“Christian Dahl (Polestar managing director) met with us at the start of the year and it went from there.”
GRM is currently based in the Melbourne suburb of Dandenong, where its 2000 Bathurst 1000 winning Holden Commodore sits proudly in the foyer.
The team is just the second to successfully court a new marque since the Car of the Future concept was launched in March, 2010.
VIDEO: Speedcafe TV wrap from the Volvo announcement