Clay Richards will team up with Bargwanna Motorsport and Garry Rogers Motorsport for the next round of the TCR Australia series, where he will race a fifth Peugeot 308 TCR.
Third generation racer Richards made his début in the series earlier this year when he raced a first-generation Audi for Melbourne Performance Centre, sensationally claiming a podium finish in only his second-ever race in the category.
Now the 23-year-old will get a second chance, as he partners with Bargwanna Motorsport to run their second Hangcha Forklifts-backed Peugeot alongside Ben Bargwanna.
The partnership evokes memories of the 1990s, when Richards’ father Steven and Bargwanna’s father Jason both had their débuts in the Australian Touring Car Championship (now known as Supercars) and even co-drove together at the 1998 Bathurst endurance race.
“It’s a great opportunity to partner up with Hangcha and Garry Rogers Motorsport in the Peugeot for Round 5 of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series,” said Richards.
“It’s great to have the Richards name back at GRM. My dad raced with Garry Rogers Motorsport when he first entered Supercars and also my grandad as well.
“It’s great to partner up with the Bargwannas, Benny and I’ve got to thank Jason for the opportunity, it’s really exciting.
“I absolutely loved my time at Winton. Getting a podium on debut was really cool and to also get this chance with Garry Rogers Motorsport as well.
“Our expectations were never to get a podium at Winton at my first round of TCR Australia, but we just learnt as much as we could and the reverse grid race was really good to us, so to come away with second was an awesome result.
“Sandown is a happy hunting ground for the Peugeots, with Ben getting a win there last year but my main focus is to learn as much as I can as the 308 TCR is a lot different to the Audi I drove at Winton.”
Jason Bargwanna, Team owner of Bargwanna Motorsport, said that giving Richards a chance was an easy decision.
“Once we were able to sit down and talk to Hangcha about what we were doing here to put the program together, there was a point where I was actually going to pull out the helmet and have a go,” said Jason Bargwanna.
“But when I watched Clay drive at Winton, he became an obvious choice. The plan was to give a young guy a go – Garry [Rogers] gave me a go many years prior, he did the same for Steven, and Jim and myself finished on the podium at Bathurst.
“Watching Clay through karts, Formula Ford and Toyota 86s, he was an easy choice.
“I think it’s going to be exciting for him to debut in the Hangcha Peugeot at Sandown.”
Ben Bargwanna is anticipating Richards to perform well on his second TCR outing at Sandown next month.
“It’s one of those things in history that comes full circle and it doesn’t happen very often, it’s very exciting,” added Ben.
“We have a very good relationship with Hangcha and to stick Clay in the other Peugeot, he can get a taste of what I’ve been driving all year, which will be exciting.
“It will be great to work with Clay and he will really benefit having a big team around him. But once we get in the cars, the gloves will definitely be off, and we’ll be going head-to-head!
“Clay is talented, he’s a good driver and he held me off pretty well for a podium spot at Winton, so he can do it. I think he’ll do just as good a job at Sandown in the Peugeot.”