Nick Percat has been confirmed as Walkinshaw Racing’s Fujitsu V8 Supercars Series driver for 2011.
The 22-year-old South Australian will compete in the same WR006 chassis that he ended last year’s Fujitsu V8 Series in, where he completed the season in fourth place, including second overall at the series finale at Homebush.
Percat will have respected engineer Erik Pender working alongside him, and team boss Craig Wilson says that big things are expected from the entry this year.
“The expectation is that he should be in the top three in the Development series, if not winning races,” he told Speedcafe.com.au.
“If he does that and continues the program that he is on, I would hope that he can have a role with us in the Championship Series down the track.”
Percat has enjoyed Walkinshaw Racing support since 2007, when he began his Formula Ford career that culminated in the 2009 crown.
He entered the Fujitsu V8 Series last year, originally with Jay Motorsports before stepping up into a fully-prepared Walkinshaw Racing Commodore from the Bathurst round onwards.
He also made his V8 Supercars Championship debut at Phillip Island in September alongside former team regular Andrew Thompson.
Wilson says that if Percat can continue his fast rise, there will be a spot for him in this year’s endurance races at Phillip Island and Bathurst.
“Nick did a good job with us at Phillip Island, given it was his first round,” Wilson said.
“I see no reason why his development won’t continue from the latter rounds in the development series – particularly his efforts at Homebush where he was very competitive.
“We’re monitoring that, and certainly he can be in contention for a seat in the endurance races with us.”
The Walkinshaw Racing team scales back from four Championship Series cars to three this year, entering Commodores for the Toll Holden Racing Team (Garth Tander and James Courtney) and Bundaberg Red racing (Fabian Coulthard).
Wilson says that Percat’s Fujitsu Series entry (which is yet to have a major sponsor confirmed) will compliment the team’s main program very well.
“Having him working in alongside our other drivers is great for him, and we have a great belief in terms of Nick’s future,” he said.
“The reason we are doing it is that we want to help develop him and continue his progress in the sport. We’re not doing it for commercial gain. It’s not the case. It’s actually costing us a little bit of money to do that. We’re doing it because we have belief in his future and we want to continue that support.
“It fitted in quite well because we’re reducing from four cars to three. We’ve already got the infrastructure, personnel and the assets to do it, but the main reason is for the continued development of him.”
The first round of the Fujitsu V8 Series will be held at the Clipsal 500 on March 17-20.