Rogers believes in financial sustainability of ARG

TCR Australia, the top competition in the Australian Racing Group pecking order, attracted only 13 cars to Phillip Island. Picture: Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series

TCR Australia, the top competition in the Australian Racing Group pecking order, attracted only 13 cars to Phillip Island. Picture: Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series

Barry Rogers maintains that the Australian Racing Group can be financially sustainable despite the current skinny grids.

Just 13 cars were entered for the most recent round of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series at Phillip Island, where the S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship’s struggles to even muster a double-digit entry list continued with a grid of nine.

While they are the top two categories in the ARG pecking order, it is the National Trans Am Series which has arguably resonated more with race fans, and though its races at Phillip Island were highly entertaining, the car count of 17 was down from around 30 as recently as August last year.

Given the participant-oriented nature of its series, the small entry lists are doubtless having an effect on the bottom line of ARG, of which the Rogers are 75 percent shareholders through their ‘Motorsport Events’ business.

Barry Rogers conceded that there are challenges but, as Garry Rogers Motorsport celebrates 60 years, told Speedcafe and the Parked Up Plus podcast that they remain committed to providing a platform which serves as an alternative to the fully professional Supercars Championship.

“It’s no secret that we love motorsport,” he said.

“Sure, there’s got to be some financial sense with it all. The question of ‘Is it worth it; is it sustainable?’ I’d like to think so.

“It’s certainly challenging, it’s not easy. You can go through all the individual categories and look at them in an individual manner, and find positives and negatives about everything.

“Look, we’re in a country of 25 million people; if you said about motorsport categories, you’ll hear we have got too many, [and] we’re probably part of that problem because of the amount of categories that we do have.

“But what I would say is, everyone in Australia, if you’re a young, up-and-coming driver getting in a go-kart or billy kart in your driveway, you dream to get to Supercars.

“Now, not everyone’s going to get there, there need to be other platforms to go and race on, and it’s worth it.

“It is worth it because we love doing what we do.

“Is it financially sustainable? I’d like to think it is, if we can keep providing a good show and just keep at it.

“It won’t happen in five minutes but we think we can make it something very worthwhile.”

Rogers is more than just an owner of ARG, whose portfolio is comprised of not just the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series, S5000, and National Trans Am, but also V8 Touring Cars, Touring Car Masters and shares in the Bathurst 6 Hour, GT World Challenge Australia, and Australian Production Cars.

GRM is an entrant in three of those competitions and the technical partner of S5000 since its inception.

He cited the team’s agreement to develop the next generation of Peugeot 308 TCR as a sign of their commitment to ARG broadly.

“We’re definitely sticking with it,” stated Rogers emphatically.

“We’re building a new Peugeot TCR car, homologating a new car for there, which is a big project, GRM-wise.

“I know that’s separate to ARG but, certainly, if we weren’t committed from an ARG point, we wouldn’t be putting that investment into a new TCR car.”

ARG’s events are run in conjunction with Motorsport Australia, the latter of which is officially the promoter, under a unified ‘Shannons SpeedSeries’ banner, effective this year.

The next SpeedSeries event is Hi-Tec Oils Race Winton on June 9-11.

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