Grant was born around motor sport, started racing karts at 16 and always had a dream of driving at Bathurst.
Early karting years were met with some success, culminating with a NSW State Title and top 10 qualifying performances at the Karting Nationals.
Grant's first ever car race was at Mt Panorama, the 1999 GTP 3 hour in a Mazda 626 owned by Tom Watkinson, where on debut in practise he bunkered the car in the sand at the Chase, "hell of a track to learn how to heel and toe on," he quipped.
Race day was much better with a podium finish and second in class, second to Steven Richards and Greg Murphy in an Astra, who went on to win the big one the next day for K Mart Racing.
The V8 BRute series was created by father Craig in 2001, based on Ford and Holden standard V8 Utes, just the class for a country boy who learnt to flat change in the farm ute. With backing from VIP Petfoods, this was Grants first serious racing effort and he finished the year as the seasons highest placed rookie - 4th outright, with a pole at Bathurst and another podium.
"I remember the first round at the Clipsal 500, in the final race the left hand front brake pad fell out so with absolutely no brakes, I hit Rod Wilson's Commodore and the concrete wall head on at the corner leading on to the main straight. The airbag went off and the whole cabin turned white - I thought I had died and gone to heaven - after about 30 secs the dust and noised settled however the remnants of the airbag had covered my helmet. New light emerged as the airbag was slowly peeled back and suddenly the concerned face of Rod Wilson appeared - I know Rod thought he was God in a race car, but I certainly knew he wasn't the real deal!"
He continued in the V8 Ute series for 4 years - winning the Dunlop Trophy series, with a number of race wins and lap records. Continued sampling of his sponsor's product however was talking its toll with a penchant for chasing cars, lifting his leg around telegraph poles, and scratching his belly while vigorously shaking a leg. And so the nickname was born - "Mad Dog" Denyer.
Grant had moved from Prime TV Wagga to TEN in Melbourne, then Sydney to take up a role as news presenter and pit lane reporter/commentator for TEN's Motorsport coverage. "At last I had made it to the Bathurst 1000, I just needed to get on the other side of the wall and in a V8 Supercar."
The 24 Hour Race at Bathurst in 2003 saw Grant team up with Tony Quinn and the VIP Pet Foods Team again, finishing second in Class and 6th outright in a Porsche Carrera. "A spectacular event on just the best track in the world." A fuel blockage in the middle of the night prevented a class win and third outright.
Summit Fleet Leasing played a major role in Grants motor racing development, taking over as Naming Rights Partner when VIP Pet Foods elected to concentrate on developing their new Porsche series. The association with the Ute's was Summit's first major involvement in the sport which has led to partnerships with many leading race teams over the past decade or so.
At the end of 2004, Dick Johnson was testing out his new V8 Telecom phone network and just happened to dial Grant's phone. Never to miss an opportunity and with all the persistence of a Mumbai telemarketer, by the end of the call Grant had convinced Dick to give him a drive in the V8 Fujitsu series for the next 2 years, culminating in a Sandown and Bathurst Enduro co-drive in 2006 with the legendary team.
Phil Jones, CEO of Summit, also grabbed the opportunity to raise the profile of the Summit brand and agreed to continue to support the team. The Summit Fleet Leasing Ford became a huge hit at the Clipsal 500 in 2005, in more ways than one.
"Covering a cyclone up north for SUNRISE prevented me from getting back to Qld Raceway for any pre - season testing, so I arrived in Adelaide without ever having sat in a V8 Supercar - even the key was in a different position to the Massey Ferguson!"
Practise 1 and 2 went well - however it all came undone during qualifying when the Summit Fleet Leasing Ford became air born at the first chicane spearing head first into the wall. Scratch one Ford for the weekend, and despatch the driver to hospital with torn shoulder tendons and fractured wrist.
"The pain I could deal with, facing Dick back in the pits was another issue and he took great delight in saying all was forgiven while shaking my injured hand with all the tenacity of a heavyweight prize fighter."
From that point on, the Summit Ford qualified in the top 10 at every round, finishing 10th in the series earning Grant the Mike Kable V8 Supercar Rookie of the Year Award, and he went on to be win the CAMS Motor Sport Personality of the Year Award - a popular fan based vote.
"I was also given the opportunity to race at Misano Italy in the World Mini Challenge, qualifying alongside Alex Zanardi and finishing 6th in a classy field of former F1, Indy and World Sports Car champions. One of my most treasured memories in motorsport is dicing with and being shoved off the track numerous times by the Great Zanardi - it was probably more rewarding than even winning the race."
The Summit Fleet Leasing Ford had good speed during 2006, with many top 5 finishes, a third fastest in qualifying at Bathurst and although Grant didn't do all rounds due to TV commitments, he still finished Top 9 in the series. Sandown and Bathurst rolled around and after being paired with Alex Davison in the DJR Ford, the team finished 14th at Sandown and a magical 9th at Bathurst - again Grant placed as the highest finishing rookie.
"We were running top 3 at Bathurst and were on track to finish in the top 5 when Alex had his belts pop open coming down Conrod Straight under green, a quick stop to fix dropped us back but we were over the moon with the result."
In 2007, Grant drove for the Subaru Factory Team in the Bathurst 12 HR production car race, finishing 3rd in class and 5th outright. He also did a number of tarmac rallies, finishing in the top 20 at Targa Tasmania, second in the Suncoast Rally in Queensland, and 3rd at the Mt Buller Sprint.
2008 started well with a fighting 2nd place in the Bathurst 12 Hour Production car race with Tony and Klark Quinn in the VIP Pet Foods Mitsubishi Evo.
"We led the event for most of the day, however 3 drive through penalties during the race cost us a win. The last one was for having a jack 20 mm over the red line in pit lane before the car pitted for its final stop. The penalty in the last hour dropped us from first to second, and that's where we finished - by only 23 seconds after 12 hours."
His first two V8 Supercar wins also came in 2008, driving for Matthew White Racing in the Summit Fleet Leasing/PlayStation Ford at Sandown and Queensland Raceway. He was also leading the new MINI Challenge Series that year - however in September 2008, it all came undone when Grant landed heavily in a monster truck demo and shattered his L1 vertebrae in 6 places.
"It was just a promo jump for Sony/PlayStation, no big deal and I had done them 30 times before, however the truck landed heavily and broke the suspension - instantly I was in great pain, couldn't walk and I knew this was serious."
Former NRL footy player Jack Elsegood comforted Grant while an ambulance was called and after a trip to St Vincent's Hospital Intensive Care and a number of scans, the news wasn't good.
"I couldn't walk, the pain was unbearable, and in the first 3 days there were plenty of unknowns. I was advised I faced 6 months of rehab - all this just 3 weeks before Bathurst where I was to drive with Ford Rising Stars."
Grant missed Bathurst, was completely bedridden for 8 weeks and then had to wear a back brace for many months. However the long term prognosis was encouraging and with the support of Dr Richard Parkinson at St Vincent's Hospital and good friend Dr Anton Mechtler, he made an excellent recovery and resumed his work in TV - and to the surprise of many, he headed back to racing.
"The accident certainly caused me to re-evaluate all aspects of my life, and the support of my partner Cheryl, family, friends and the thousands of messages of encouragement was the catalyst in pushing me to make a full recovery. Racing and TV are my 2 passions, and once the doctors gave the clearance, I was chomping at the bit to race again. Many questioned why I would want to race after such as rough time, however life isn't a dress rehearsal - this is it - I love it and I want to experience all aspects of life to the max. Wrapping myself in cotton wool wasn't an option and you have to accept the fact that life is full of unknowns - the accident could have happened just going to the corner store for a loaf of bread."
For 2009, Grant returned to Dick Johnson Racing for the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series with backing from new partner Crimsafe, taking a win in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar final at Winton Raceway; he also drove for the Decorug Team in the Mini Challenge Series; and attacked the infamous German Nurburgring 24 Hour race in the VIP Pet Foods Porsche with Tony and Klark Quinn and Craig Baird. This was Grant's first major overseas Enduro race and he was pitted against some of the worlds best factory backed sports car teams from Audi, Porsche, Aston Martin, Dodge Viper and BMW. Grant and his Aussie Team finished a sensational 9th outright with over 200 starters on the 23 kilometre, 172 corner track known as "The Green Hell."
Grant's Television career saw him return to Sunrise in 2010, leaving him little time to continue his passion for V8 racing. However, in 2011, he combined TV and racing hosting the Shannons Supercar Showdown, a reality TV Program run by Kelly Racing, where ten young drivers were given the opportunity to compete for a drive alongside Grant in the Bathurst 1000. A young driver from Mildura, Cameron Waters, beat British driver Andrew Jordan in the final episode and made his debut as the youngest person ever to drive in the Bathurst 1000. The pair failed to finish the race that year after Cameron hit the wall at Forrests Elbow causing significant damage to the car.
Due to work commitments, Grant took a break from driving until leaving Sunrise in March 2013. It had been two years since his last drive, when Grant and co-driver Dale Moscatt, took on the Tasmania Targa in a Renault Megane run by Walkinshaw Racing. The pair finished 1st in their class and 6thoutright for the event. A spectacular return to racing for Grant.
In 2014, Grant returned to Mt Panorama in the Liqui-Moly 12 Hour Endurance race, headlining the world competition debut of the new MARC Ford Focus GTC Touring car. The Australian built and designed car, driven by Grant, Andrew Miedecke, Gary Jacobsen and Adam Gowans finished 1st in the Invitation Class, and 15thoutright.
Grant was invited to drive in the Aussie Racing Car Series at Bathurst in October 2014. Racing in these cars competitively for the first time, he showed good pace, finishing third fastest amongst the 37 entries in the opening practice session. He drove impressively all weekend, with two podium finishes.
In 2015 - Grant took on the Bathurst 12 hour again. This time alongside Peter Conroy and Tony Bates, a Porsche Carrera Cup Elite Class regular, in a Class B Porsche. The formidable team did not finish the race due to significant damage after Peter spun out, ending up in the sand during the first few hours of the race.
Grant's impressive pace attracted Maranello Motorsport, who enlisted Grant alongside ex- V8 Supercar racer Tony D'Alberto, in its racing comeback to the Australian GT Series.
The Melbourne based team missed the opening round of the series due to heavy damage to the Ferrari 458 GT3 from the Bathurst 12 Hour race, but returned for Round 2 at Phillip Island, Grant and Tony finishing in 3rd place against a classy field of V8 Supercar and former F1 and World Class GT drivers. Long-time backers Just Cuts Hair Salons have joined the team to take naming rights to the Ferrari 458 and the squad is set to take on the remaining GT series in 2015.
Grant returned to Targa Tasmania in 2015, in the same Renault Megane he drive in 2013, however this time turned in a giant killing performance to finish second in the showroom class, beaten only by Tony Quinn's new $500K McLaren road car, and winning many stages outright in the $40K Renault pocket rocket.
"Racing is the ultimate adrenalin shot for me, it comes with many high and lows - the reward for result is the greatest high, however you have to tough out the low times and that can be hard. I am blessed to have been able to combine the 2 great loves of my life, television and motor racing, sometimes balancing the demands of those can also be a roller coaster ride in itself, however with the support of Chezzi, Sailor and great partners such as Just Cuts, I am probably enjoying racing now more than ever. I would never have thought that cutting your teeth on the family farm Massey Ferguson would one day lead to driving a Ferrari 458 on some of the world's great race tracks. It's clear proof of the mantra that in chasing your dreams, you must never give up! Even the tough times can give you added inner strength and an edge to push forward again. One key lesson I have learned along the journey is that life is not about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning how to dance in the rain."
In November 2016 Grant clinched the CAMS Australian Endurance Championship alongside motor racing partner Nathan Morcom.
Denyer and Morcom went into the final race of the series as championship leaders, however an over-heating issue with their the McLaren saw it fall into limp mode midway through the Highlands 101, putting their bid for the championship in extreme doubt.
Holding on to eighth place, it was enough to secure the championship, Denyer's first since he won a state go-karting crown in 1997. After the race he commented, "We were a shot duck and all we were doing was try to get it to the finish. We did it and it's bloody amazing!"
After a serious accident in March 2017 while competing in the Lake Mountain sprint as part of the Australian Rally Championships, Grant Denyer is keenly anticipating his return to the track in 2018.