Percat gets prime enduro slot with Tander
The Toll Holden Racing Team has confirmed its endurance drivers for the two-driver races at Phillip Island and Bathurst this year.
Reigning V8 Supercars champion James Courtney will team-up Cameron McConville, while Garth Tander has entrusted young gun Nick Percat in the #2 factory Commodore.
Percat’s promotion from Fujitsu Series front-runner to Tander’s team-mate confirms that he will make his Bathurst debut this year. He competed at Phillip Island last year alongside Andrew Thompson in the Bundaberg Racing Commodore.
The team made the announcement, this morning at co-naming rights sponsor Toll’s brand new fleet facility in Altona, Melbourne.
While not announced today, it is expected that HRT’s sister team – Bundaberg Racing – will have Craig Baird partner fellow Kiwi Fabian Coulthard in the long distance races.
Tander said Percat’s appointment was a natural progression in his young but successful racing career, during which Tander has mentored the rising star.
“I have known Nick for a long time and worked with him since his days in Formula Ford, so I am delighted that he will be joining Toll HRT and driving alongside me at Phillip Island and Bathurst,” Tander said.
“Every time Nick has tested my Toll HRT Commodore he has been right on the money. There won’t be any extra pressure applied from us, we think Nick is ready, we have absolute faith in the job he will do and this is a great opportunity to give a young guy a start.”
Percat said he was surprised to receive the call up, but promised to make the most of the opportunity.
“When I was first told I would be driving for the Toll Holden Racing Team with Garth Tander in this year’s enduros I was quite shocked,” Percat said.
“Growing up I always followed HRT and now to be driving one of its Commodores in two of the year’s most important races with one of the best drivers in the field is a massive opportunity, one I will be grabbing with both hands.”
After winning a race at the Armor All Gold Coast 600 and finishing second in last year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 with Tander, McConville said he was delighted to be back for his third endurance campaign with Toll HRT.
The 37-year-old says that his sights are set firmly on victory with Courtney in Australia’s Great Race.
“Driving for the Toll HRT with Garth last year was fantastic, we had a Bathurst podium and a win on the Gold Coast, so to be back with them and to now be co-driving with the reigning V8 Supercar Champion is a thrill,” McConville said.
“Driving car #1 will be more an honour than unwanted pressure and, if anything, I see this as a tremendous opportunity to contribute to James and the team’s success.
“Both James and I have one box we haven’t ticked in our V8 Supercar career and that’s a Bathurst victory – we’re both very hungry and want to achieve it.”
The V8 Supercars endurance races start with the traditional 500km warm-up to Bathurst at the L&H 500 Phillip Island on 16-18 September.
Australia’s Great Race, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 follows on 6-9 October.