Michael Caruso says that he would not be where he is today had it not been for Garry Rogers, who has announced that his team will be exiting Supercars.
Caruso joined Garry Rogers Motorsport as a rookie in 2008 and went on to take his first Supercars Championship race win, at Hidden Valley, in the following season.
He would spend five years at GRM, during which time he netted a Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 podium, before becoming one of Nissan Motorsport’s foundation drivers in 2013.
With that ultimatum delivered during last weekend’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, and Rogers not granted a request to lodge RECs beyond today’s deadline, he told staff of his decision in an emotional workshop address.
“Watching his video, obviously Garry had a bit of emotion, and that shows how passionate he is about our sport and how genuine (he is),” Caruso told Speedcafe.com.
“Garry’s been involved from basically the beginning of Supercars, if not before, so it’s disappointing to see him go, and I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the opportunity he gave me.
“It’s disappointing for everyone, I think, and particularly if he obviously asked for an opportunity to extend, it would have been nice to try to give him that fighting chance to stay in, because we need people like Garry in our sport that have that character, along with the opportunities that he’s given for, not just drivers, but a lot of personnel up and down pit lane.”
The 2012 season finale was nevertheless not Caruso’s last drive for GRM.
Despite being signed by Tickford Racing as a co-driver for this year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup, Caruso was picked up by Rogers to fill in for an injured Richie Stanaway at Townsville and Queensland Raceway, which he nominated as one of his GRM highlights.
“It’s a great environment and obviously winning with Garry was super special, especially from working on the workshop floor,” reflected Caruso.
“We had podiums together – with Holdsworth at Bathurst, that was nice, and throughout my time there – but even getting the call-up while being signed to another team, to ask me to come and help out when they had some dramas going on with Richie, that was pretty special for him to reach out and ask another competitor to come and do that, and for me to be that guy, it was really good.”