Garry Rogers is refusing to back down from his plan to run a Wildcard entry at the Bathurst 1000 with Nathan Herne as one of his drivers.
He has his crew in quarantine, the cars are prepared, and he and team manager Barry Rogers are leaving Melbourne on Monday to begin their final build-up to Bathurst through isolation in Sydney.
Roger refuses to discuss potential legal action to allow 18-year-old Herne to join Tyler Everingham in his Commodore at Mount Panorma, but is emphatic about his commitment to the plan and his controversial choice of a rookie without the Superlicense needed for Supercars.
“We are right to go and we will be there. We are absolutely committed,” Rogers told Race News.
“I believe in this. I’ll be funding things myself. It’s not true that he’s got a lot of dough, because he’s got no dough.
“Nathan is a gun. He will really shine. He can do this.”
Rogers said all the pieces are in place for his latest Bathurst assault, although he is not looking forward to the quarantine time needed to go from Victoria to NSW.
“No way am I looking forward to that. But I’m looking forward to Bathurst,” he said.
“The blokes are already in quarantine. Some are in Darwin and some are in Sydney. We’ll be right.”
Ask him about the next step in his license dispute with Motorsport Australia and Supercars and, typically, Rogers is forceful but keeping his powder dry.
“We’ll wait and see what happens there. I don’t want to get involved in all that activitity.”
Rogers is a well-known talent spotter who was instrumental in the early careers of Bathurst winners Jason Bright, Steven Richards, Jason Bargwanna and Garth Tander, although he gave up early on Jamie Whincup.
He says Herne reminds him of several of his previous stars.
“On temperament alone, I reckon he’s maybe like Steven Richards. He’s very cool and calm. He loves what he does and he doesn’t get hyped up about it.
“When I look at a driver, he is an absolutely very skilful driver. Has he got good discipline as a human being? Yes, tick the box.
“He just ticks all the boxes. The beauty of this is he has stayed out of the politics. He’s hurting a bit but he’s got faith in us to do the job for him.”
Rogers said both Herne and Everingham flew through GRM’s two-day test at Winton last week.
“We had James Moffat up there and he helped them along. He set the car up and did laps each day and it was all very, very positive.
“Crusty (Richard Hollway, lead engineer at GRM) is such an old woman, but he was really impressed with him.”
Rogers confirmed again that he is putting his hand in his own pocket to fund the Bathurst effort.
“There will be some Valvoline on the car, and a couple of other people who have supported us along the way.
He is blunt and emphatic about the bottom line.
“This isn’t about who has the biggest dick, it’s about giving a chance to a young guy who can drive and doesn’t have the dough,” said Rogers.
“I know someone is going to pluck him out of our place in a couple of years, because that’s what they do. And we know that’s how it works.
“Let me tell you, he can drive.”