With this weekend’s Newcastle 500 marking Garry Rogers Motorsport’s last Supercars event, at least for now, Speedcafe.com wants to know what your favourite memory of the team is.
GRM has certainly had its highs and lows in 24 years in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, dating back to the time before it was even known as ‘V8 Supercars’, but is perhaps more loved for its culture rather than any specific on-track achievement.
Nevertheless, the squad which has existed for most of its life as a privateer operation has also racked up results on even the biggest of stages that Australian motorsport has to offer.
In this week’s Pirtek Poll, we want to know which of those moments is your favourite.
While Holden’s two Bathurst 24 Hour wins with the Monaros are noteworthy GRM stories, only the Supercars Championship and Super2 have been considered for the purpose of the exercise.
Bargwanna’s sweep, 1999
Jason Bargwanna was one of many drivers who were given their start in Supercars with Garry Rogers Motorsport.
Bargwanna achieved all seven of his Supercars race wins in his four years with GRM, including a Bathurst 1000 (see below).
However, almost half of that haul came in one weekend alone when the then-27-year-old swept the Winton round.
He also got his first pole that weekend, with Garth Tander making a GRM lockout
Bathurst 1000 win, 2000
GRM’s first and only win in the Great Race came in 2000, the same season in which it pushed the then-dominant Holden Racing Team all the way in the championship.
On an ultra-challenging day at Mount Panorama, featuring 13 Safety Car periods, the #34 VT Commodore of Tander and Bargwanna pushed the #1 HRT entry early on but did not officially lead for the first time until Lap 123.
However, with Car #1 HRT having been one of the victims of Matt Neal’s infamous divebomb at Hell Corner, and Tony Longhurst hitting a backmarker while leading with just over 10 laps remaining, meant Tander held first position when it mattered most.
McConville nabs first victory, 2004
The single race which was held at Winton in 2004 was a similarly chaotic affair, which saw Mark Skaife crunch his Commodore when he got caught in someone else’s incident, and even Marcos Ambrose bleeding his tyres to drive out of a muddy infield.
Rick Kelly held a small advantage over Cameron McConville, then in his first year with GRM, at the start of the 100th and final lap.
McConville made a huge lunge at the second-last corner, where Kelly thought a local yellow applied for yet another stranded car, and got his first win in Supercars by less than a quarter of a second.
Holdsworth breaks through, 2007
Lee Holdsworth is yet another driver who got his maiden win with GRM, in another rainy weekend at Oran Park in 2007.
Holdsworth had already overperformed by finishing fourth in Race 2 and jumped to the front almost as soon as the weekend’s finale had got underway.
Despite having to pit, a combination of strategy, pace, and composure, meant Car #33 led all 46 laps and won the round.
McLaughlin gives it some jandal, 2014
Garry Rogers himself rates the Volvo program as one of his team’s great achievements and it began with a bang.
In just the S60’s first day of racing, Scott McLaughlin found himself embroiled in an epic scrap with Jamie Whincup for second position on the final lap of the twilight 39-lapper.
Whincup ran wide out of the final corner, handing McLaughlin second and this line on live television: “I don’t know what happened there. I just plucked it in first, gave it some jandal and f*** yeah.”
Pither wins the Super2 Series, 2018
GRM’s only Supercars series title to date came just 12 months ago when Chris Pither won the Super2 Series.
After struggling in Adelaide, the Kiwi found form with both poles and a race win in Round 2 at Symmons Plains, and would become the main challenger for Paul Dumbrell, who had established himself as the man to beat in the second tier.
Pither took over the series lead with a podium in a wild Bathurst race and did enough to seal the crown in Newcastle, where he was leading when the final race was called early and declared a non-result.
What is your favourite GRM moment in Supercars? Cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.