GRM signs young gun as its first Alfa Romeo TCR Australia driver
Garry Rogers Motorsport has signed rising star Jimmy Vernon as its first official driver to its Alfa Romeo TCR Australia program for this year.
Vernon, the 2017 Toyota 86 Racing Series champion, will drive one of GRM’s two 2019-specification Giulietta Veloces, with the driver of the second Alfa yet-to-be announced.
After graduating from karts, the 21 year old has competed in state and national level for the past six years. Starting in Formula Ford in 2012, the Sydney-based driver stepped up to Formula 4 in 2015, production cars in 2016 before claiming the highly-competitive Toyota 86 Racing Series in 2017.
Last year, Vernon took on the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, finishing fourth overall, winning the final round of the championship at Sydney Motorsport Park.
He has also competed in recent Bathurst 6 and 12 Hour races, including a finishing on third overall in class at last week’s 12 Hour event.
Vernon will become one of the first drivers in the world to race the latest-generation Alfa TCR vehicles after the car’s official homologation team Romeo Ferraris completes the initial builds.
Vernon’s signing at GRM continues a long line of young drivers who have started their top-level motorsport careers at the Victoria team, including the likes of Jamie Whincup, Scott McLaughlin, Steven Richards, Garth Tander, Lee Holdsworth and Michael Caruso.
GRM’s Alfa Romeos are expected to arrive in Australia in the coming months where Vernon and the team will have the opportunity to test before the opening round of the 2019 TCR Australia Series at Sydney Motorsport Park on May 17-19.
Driver, GRM Alfa Romeo TCR
“To have been offered the opportunity to link with Garry Roger’s Motorsport is a great honour,” said Jimmy Vernon.
“Seeing the way GRM has nurtured some of the best Australian drivers over many years, it was an easy decision to make that this was the direction I needed to go.
“I have a very strong group of supporters helping my career take flight, although we still have some work to do to find more backing to ensure we have everything in place to have a serious crack at this inaugural championship.
“I can’t wait to cast my eyes over the brand new 2019 specification Alfa Romeo TCR car. I believe we will be bringing a really strong package to the category.
“I want to thank Garry and Barry for believing in me and giving me a chance to join their highly credentialed team.”
Garry Rogers Motorsport
“Garry and I have always been keen on giving young guys a go, and with the promise that Jimmy has shown over the past few years, we feel he is the perfect choice for our new Alfa Romeo TCR team,” said Barry Rogers.
“We chanced on our first meeting with Jimmy at the TCR launch day at Sydney Motorsport Park, and he struck us as a really enthusiastic kid with lots of potential.
“Looking at his CV, he clearly knows how to drive, and we are confident that he will be competitive.
“Anyone who wins the Toyota 86 Racing Series obviously knows what they are doing. It’s a one-make class that means the driver is the difference.
“Like the other young talent that we’ve had come through the doors at GRM, we can’t wait to get Jimmy immersed in our racing business.”