Garry Rogers Motorsport has commenced the build of two new Holden Supercars, but insists they aren’t replacements for their current Volvos.
According to GRM director Barry Rogers, the new Commodores are being built so that the team can continue in the Dunlop Series.
GRM’s second-tier program has this year featured two Holdens that it leases from businessman Tony Klein.
As previously reported, Klein’s two GRM-built chassis are set to be placed at Terry Wyhoon’s Image Racing next season.
GRM’s decision to invest in new Holdens is of particular note given its battle with Volvo over the use of its current S60s beyond 2016.
The team remains adamant that it will continue to run the Volvos for another season, despite the Swedish company’s efforts to stop them.
A Federal Court judge recently ordered the parties to hold mediation talks by December 15.
If no resolution can be found, the case will go before a judge in February, just weeks out from the 2017 season opening Clipsal 500.
Despite the seemingly dire situation, Rogers insists that the new Holdens are not being prepared as back-ups in case they lose the battle with Volvo.
“It looks like that (the Holdens are the back-up plan), but 100 percent it’s not the case,” Rogers told Speedcafe.com.
“We’ve said from the start that we will be running these cars (Volvos). We think common sense will prevail.
“Volvo have the rights to the Volvo parts, like the bonnet, the roof, the boot, but we can give their parts back and go and buy more.
“We will be running them as Volvos, it’s just weather they run with the Volvo or Chev engine is really what it’s about.
“We definitely won’t be running Holdens in the main game.”
Legal action between the parties could well drag on throughout next year, leaving the S60s to continue racing under a cloud of uncertainty.
The team is hoping to have a new manufacturer deal in place by early next year so that it can develop a fresh technical package for 2018.
Rogers says that approval has been gained from Supercars to race chassis in the Dunlop Series that have not previously competed in the main game.
The first chassis is currently being finished in the team’s fabrication shop, while the second will be completed in the new year.
GRM is currently working on upgrades for its ex-Walkinshaw Chev engines to ensure the cars are a match for others coming from the top tier.
The Dunlop Series driver line-up will in part be determined by GRM’s yet-to-be-confirmed Supercars Championship plans.
With James Moffat expected to stay on and Garth Tander continuing to be linked to the team, James Golding may well remain in the second division for a third year.
Confirming that Golding will drive for the team in one form or another, Rogers stressed a desire to retain second driver Richard Muscat.
Former Carrera Cup racer Muscat joined the team this year with support from existing GRM sponsors Wilson Security and Payce Consolidated.
“The Wilson contract is up at the end of this year and we’re speaking to them at the moment with regards to an extension to it,” said Rogers.
“They’re sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what happens with this Volvo situation.
“We’ve given them a deal for all four cars again like it is this year, but I think they’re weighing up what they want to do with Richard.
“Richard has done an exceptional job this year and formed a great bond with our team, so we’d very much like to keep him on board.”
Rogers does not expect to have a technical link with Image Racing next year, but will supply basic data with the cars when they are delivered at the end of the season.