Jason Bargwanna will make a return to the driver’s seat in 2020, steering a Peugeot 308 in the TCR Australia Series.
The winner of the Bathurst 1000 in 2000, Bargwanna will drive the turbo-charged French car that was recently delivered to Australia for the final round of the 2019 series at The Bend Motorsport Park.
The car will be prepared and run by Garry Rogers Motorsport Customer Racing, the team that also fields the factory-supported Renault Meganes and two Alfa Romeo Giuliette Veloces.
The Bargwanna/Peugeot/TCR deal is a two-year commitment that will include him teaming up with his 18-year-old son Ben Bargwanna at the Bathurst International in late 2020.
The Bathurst International is a brand-new event at the famous Mount Panorama circuit that will feature a two-driver 500km TCR endurance race.
Next year, Ben Bargwanna will compete in his second full year of Australian Formula Ford racing, ahead of making his touring car debut at the Bathurst event. Ben has already tasted success at Mount Panorama as a 16-year-old, winning the inaugural Hyundai Excel Challenge and the Victorian State Championship in 2018 before stepping up to national-level Formula Ford this year.
It will be a return of sorts for Bargwanna, 47, to GRM. Back in 1998, Bargwanna got his first opportunity as professional racing driver with the Dandenong-based team, racing for them until the end of the 2002 season.
His career highlight was victory at the Bathurst 1000 alongside Garth Tander in 2000. He collected seven race victories in the Supercars Championship, and since retiring from full-time driving, has acted as the Driving Standards Advisor for Supercars as well as winning two New Zealand V8 Touring Car Championships.
Ben Bargwanna is no stranger to GRM either, having worked as a mechanic for the team’s TCR program this year.
Bargwanna will confirm his sponsorship partners before the start of the 2020 season, with the first event to be held at Albert Park where the inaugural TCR Asia Pacific Cup will be run supporting the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
Driver, Peugeot 308 TCR
“It is really exciting to confirm that I’m making a return to the driver’s seat, and even more exciting that it is going to happen in an emerging class like TCR,” said Jason Bargwanna.
“I’ve been involved in motor racing for a long time, and TCR has lit a fire inside me. There is so much energy and hype and genuine excitement around the category. It’s a category that makes sense and I can’t wait to get back into race mode.
“One of my motivations is to team-up with my son Ben for the new endurance race at Bathurst. Having the chance to race alongside your own son in the same car is rare. We’ve seen the likes of the Setons, Johnsons and the Richards families do it at Bathurst, and I feel privileged to be able to share a car at such a special track.
“This TCR program is a two-year commitment for us. I have no doubt that Ben will be out buying me fishing gear for Christmas next year, and won’t be afraid to try and pry me out of the seat after he finishes his Formula Ford campaign.
“The commercial relevance for TCR in the market place has been outstanding. Since the announcement of the Channel 7 deal, the commercial market has lit up, and I’m looking forward to announcing our quality, blue chip corporate partner for the season.”
Bathurst co-driver, Peugeot 308 TCR
“To race in a TCR endurance race alongside my dad at Mount Panorama is unthinkable. It’s a dream come true,” said Ben Bargwanna.
“He has been to all of my karting, Hyundai Excel and Formula Ford races, and we have a lot of fun and success together, so its very exciting that we’ll be able to share the same car.
“Garry and Barry have given me the opportunity to work with on the TCR program this year, and it has been unbelievable to work in a professional team environment.
“A full time seat in the series would be amazing, but my focus is on Formula Ford at the moment. I’m a strong believer that you need to do your apprenticeship right, and I still have some things to work on.
“My goal for 2020 is to win the national Formula Ford championship next year, then take on the world’s best at Bathurst.”
See below for video of Jason Bargwanna, his son Ben and team owner Garry Rogers