Grove eyeing Supercars academy establishment
Tuesday 17th August, 2021 - 6:00am
Stephen Grove says the establishment of a junior driver academy is being considered to coincide with the rebranding of his Supercars outfit.
Braeside-based Kelly Grove Racing as it is known now will undergo a shake-up next year with the Kelly brothers Todd and Rick stepping aside from the ownership group.
Grove Racing in its current guise has entries in Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS and Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia, operating out of Pakenham, also southeast of the Melbourne CBD.
Grove pilots entries in both categories with son Brenton partnering him in GT World Challenge Australia driving a second-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Those series could soon be the proving ground for future Supercars prospects.
Speaking with Speedcafe.com, Grove said the team is looking to support up-and-coming drivers in the sports car series as well as the Super2 Series.
“There’s two options, whether we go down the Super2 road, we’ll still have an involvement with Carrera Cup, I’ll still continue to drive in Carrera Cup, and we’ll still do GT,” said Grove.
“Whether we look for kids in that as well as Super2, whether we have an involvement in both, I think our motorsport programme will expand to Supercars, Carrera Cup, GT, and potentially Super2.”
What’s driving Grove’s desire for an academy set-up is the success of Grove Group-supported athletes Scott McLaughlin and Anton De Pasquale.
McLaughlin won three Supercars titles and the 2019 Bathurst 1000, and was a class winner in the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour alongside Grove.
De Pasquale, meanwhile, has stepped into the Dick Johnson Racing fold following McLaughlin’s departure to the United States to contest the IndyCar Series.
“The vision is two-fold,” Grove explained.
“One is developing drivers, which I really want to do. We’ve had a long association in that with Scott McLaughlin and Anton De Pasquale; trying to develop drivers, and [two], trying to develop the team, push the team up the grid, and make sure we’ve got the infrastructure, try and get some solid consistency in our performances, and try and add that professionalism into the team.
“We’ve got two really good drivers now, but as time progresses you need to bring other kids through. It’s something that I really want to be involved in.
“It’s something that’s pretty important; whether we set up an academy or something like that to bring young kids through the ranks and watch them prosper and see if they can make it to the top level in Australia, which is Supercars.”
Erebus Motorsport is the only Supercars team with an established academy supporting drivers in the Super2 Series, Super3 Series, and Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia 86 Series.
Triple Eight Race Engineering and Tickford Racing have direct lines to their respective Supercars teams through the Super2 Series.
Kelly Racing in its former guise featured in the first two seasons of the Shannons Supercar Showdown reality TV show.
Cameron Waters won the first season in 2011, making his Bathurst 1000 debut that year with Grant Denyer as a wildcard.
Jesse Dixon won season two in 2012, after which he too raced in the Bathurst 1000 alongside Waters.
Dixon would go on to race in the V8 Utes Series and Super2 Series.