Michael Caruso will join the grid of the 2020 TCR Australia series, racing a GRM Alfa Romeo Giulietta with backing from Valvoline as part of a two-year deal.
Caruso, 36, returns to Garry Rogers Motorsport for the first full season since 2012, which was his last year of five years spent with the team since his Supercars début in 2008.
During that first stint with GRM, Caruso scored a first win in Supercars at Hidden Valley Raceway in 2009, although it wouldn’t be until 2016 that he scored another win, by this time driving for Kelly Racing in a Nissan.
Caruso has signed a two-year deal to race in TCR Australia with GRM, with his first race coming at the TCR Aisa Pacific Cup in March, supporting the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. Caruso’s deal also incorporates the TCR Bathurst 500 endurance race in November.
Although Caruso hasn’t contested a full season with GRM since 2012, he made a brief return to the team last year when he took part in two Supercars events at Queensland Raceway and Townsville, before acting as co-driver alongside Cameron Waters at Tickford Racing for the events at Bathurst, Surfers Paradise and Sandown.
“I’m really excited to partner with Valvoline and the Garry Rogers Motorsport team for the next two years in the TCR Series,” said Caruso.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with both organisations in the past, and I have so many great memories and still hold many lifelong friendships from those years.
“GRM as an organisation has a fantastic, hard working group of people which are like family to one another and that resonates with me.
“I raced as a Valvoline driver when I first started in the Supercars Championship back in 2008, and it’s great to reconnect with this multi-national company that is so influential not only within Australia but all around the world.
“Valvoline is extremely passionate about its racing and we feel that the TCR Australia Series is a great way to showcase its brand.
“I watched the first season of TCR Australia, and you can see the potential that it has. I knew I wanted to be a part of it, and it is even better that I get the chance to link up with Valvoline and GRM to do it.
“I know that as a team we have all of the right ingredients to make it successful.
“I believe we are definitely a chance to give the series a shake-up. The Alfa Romeo has shown that it is a strong package – both in Australia and in other TCR competitions around the world.
“There is already so much excitement around the 500km race at Bathurst and it is something that I’m very much looking forward to competing in.
“Everyone loves endurance-style racing at Mount Panorama and that race will be the perfect way to end the season. I definitely want to be the inaugural winner and have my name on that trophy.”
Peter Besgrove, Managing Director of Valvoline Australia, is looking forward to reuniting with Caruso for the coming campaign.
“2020 marks a new chapter in the long relationship between Valvoline and Garry Rogers Motorsport,” said Besgrove.
“We have been partners in motor racing for over 30 years, but TCR is a brand-new experience. What is not new is the passion, commitment and hard work the GRM bring to the sport.
“This year, like every other year, GRM will rely on Valvoline for lubricants and technical support to ensure that their cars are up at the pointy end of the field.
“Returning this year will be Michael Caruso, who has a long history with GRM and can be relied upon to get the most of his race car. We are excited about the series and wish the team every success.”
Caruso will get his first taste of his new car at Sandown today in a private test session.