Grove takes full ownership of KGR, Kelly to depart

Andre Heimgartner leads David Reynolds

The Grove Group is set to take 100 percent ownership of Braeside-based Supercars team Kelly Grove Racing, Speedcafe.com can confirm.

In January it was announced the Grove Group had acquired a 50 percent stake in Kelly Racing alongside brothers Todd and Rick Kelly.

Come January 1, 2022, the Repco Supercars Championship squad will be known as Grove Racing having acquired the other 50 percent stake owned by the brothers.

That will see Stephen Grove become team principal, taking over from boss Todd Kelly who will depart the team.

Grove Racing’s existing motorsport operations in Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia and Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS will run concurrently out of the Pakenham base in Melbourne.

Speaking with Speedcafe.com, Grove said the team began evaluating its options late last year to join the championship before forming an alliance with the Kelly family.

“It began where we assessed entering Supercars and then we assessed pre-Christmas whether there was an opportunity to do our own things, get our own licences, get some RECs [Racing Entitlements Contracts] and go down that way,” Grove explained.

“Then we had some discussions with the Kellys, with Todd, and then decided that there was a good partnership we could form there.

“For us, 100 percent ownership was probably something we were aiming to do. We sort of did the deal and then decided to keep talking about taking a full 100 percent ownership of it.”

The takeover will see Grove Racing acquire all assets from Kelly Racing, sans the engineering business which will remain in the hands of the Kelly family.

While Todd will no longer run the team, Grove Racing will still have a technical alliance with Kelly Racing.

“We were just keen to buy the race team,” Grove explained.

“The engineering part of the business does engineering for Kelly Grove Racing but also does engineering and a lot of outside activities for other race teams in Supercars and outside of Supercars. It does other things outside of motorsport as well.

“We will continue to be a customer of Kelly Racing who will still make parts and build components for us. That will be as a customer-client type of relationship.

“Todd and I have a very close relationship,” he added.

“Todd has been pretty clear that he wants to continually see the team advance and prosper and hopefully get up the grid.

“He’ll still be there in the background. We talk daily [but] not just on racing stuff, other stuff that we work through together, so the relationship is really strong and it’ll continue to be strong.”

Grove said he’s keen to build upon the work achieved by the Kelly family with the ultimate goal of winning the drivers’ and teams’ championship.

“The key thing is, there’s not going to be massive wholesale changes,” said Grove.

“We’re not going to throw everything out and try and start again. What we’re really trying to do is just build on what we already have.

“I can’t underestimate the time I’ve spent in the business. What Todd and Rick have been able to achieve, their process of building Holdens, the Nissan programme, and building Mustangs, building the engines internally… They’ve done such a great job.

“It’s really more just about making sure we take what we’ve got and just try and improve it and initiate some business philosophies into the business and try and just grow. It really gives us a great platform to try and grow it and reach our goals.”

Next season will mark the first Supercars Championship without Todd Kelly in a full-time driver or team principal role since 2000.

Todd debuted as a full-timer that year and competed behind the wheel until retiring at the end of 2017 and switching his full focus to running the team, while Rick was a mainstay on the grid from 2001 to 2020.

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