Rogers’ mission to make Supercars great again
Thursday 28th October, 2021 - 6:00am
Incoming Supercars stakeholder Barry Rogers has spoken of using lessons from Garry Rogers Motorsport’s exit from the championship to spark positive change.
Rogers is a director at GRM, the eponymous team owned by his father Garry, and last year became the largest shareholder in the Australian Racing Group.
News broke this morning that the championship has officially been sold to a consortium involving ARG, making Rogers suddenly a key player in the Supercars scene.
Now, he is focused on making sure teams aren’t essentially forced out of the sport like his was.
“The reasons we [GRM] left Supercars really were predominantly around costs to compete in the series,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“So we’re probably, and particularly Garry, driven to as much as you can rectify or improve that situation for the teams that are there now.
“We understand the pain they go through financially to make it all stack up and work.
“But we’re also well aware that to produce the show that Supercars is, you do need to manage costs there somehow but you’ve also then got to be conscious that you don’t want to be ruining the show.
“The show has still got to have elements to it that unfortunately attract costs.”
Rogers identified salaries and engines as the biggest expense factors at play.
“People like to talk about the car itself but to be honest with you, and this isn’t saying it’s not relevant what a car costs, but the actual initial costs of a car probably isn’t the big factor, it’s the actual costs of competing,” he said.
“The two biggest costs of competing are staff and engines.
“If you said to me the things that we would focus on, on a clean sheet of paper to eliminate costs, they’re probably the two things.”
GRM currently competes in ARG-owned categories such as Supercheap Auto TCR Australia and S5000, but Supercars’ changing of hands won’t necessarily lead to the Victorian squad returning to the grid.
“To be honest with you, Garry and I haven’t even spoken about it,” said Rogers of that prospect.
“The simple answer is, I wouldn’t rule it out but it’s certainly not something that’s front and centre in our minds at the moment.”
As for the divisive gearstick versus paddle shift debate for the 2023 debut of Gen3?
“I hate to say that I’m sitting on the fence,” said Rogers.
“I love to see the in-car cameras and they’ve got drivers heel and toeing and one hand on the wheel, one hand on the gearstick; it is great theatre but if you go back before cars existed, watching people ride around on horses was great theatre too, so you have got to move with the times a bit.
“When you talk about the younger generation, enthusiast young spectators who have got their set-ups at home with their PlayStations, they have all got paddle shifts these days. I mean, it won’t be long until you can’t buy a manual road car, so I think you have got to move with the times a bit.
“Tradition is a fantastic thing but if we sticked with tradition, we wouldn’t move forward on a lot of things.”
Speedcafe.com understands there is a push from at least some key elements within the RACE consortium to ensure the gearstick remains part of Supercars’ future.