Jack Perkins makes his Australian GT debut
Larry Perkins is a driver who epitomises versatility in motor racing having driven everything from a Formula Vee to grand prix Formula One cars in the 1970’s.
So it follows that his son Jack Perkins is embarking on a similar route of versatility albeit not including the glory of F1.
By the age of 10 Jack had seen more race tracks then many drivers may see in a lifetime.
He has already raced Formula Fords, Aussie Racing Cars, NZ SuperTourers and V8 Supercars.
This weekend he is adding another string to his bow with his Australian GT debut at Phillip Island and Speedcafé caught up with him after his first drive.
Speedcafé: The Ginetta is a well-known brand with its own race series that’s been gracing UK tracks for many years. But it is a new car on our racing scene and a new car for you, how do you find it?
Jack Perkins: It is indeed and my first ever drive of a GT car and its pretty cool. We’re not really an outright contender but its still good fun to be out there and drive a car with a lot of aero.
Speedcafé: When you say aero, does it have more downforce than a V8 Supercar?
Jack Perkins: Yeah it has a massive front undertray and a big flat floor and a big rear wing so the aero grip the car provides is really good and there wouldn’t be many cars here (at the Island) that are quicker through the corners. It’s only got a little 3.5-litre V6 Ford engine so it doesn’t have the horsepower of the Ferraris and the Mercs, so Phillip Island probably isn’t the best track for it but I’d love to have a go at Winton with all the corners.
Speedcafé: What sort of lap times are you achieving at the Island?
Jack Perkins: We did a 1:38s in practice and were quickest in our class which is the best we can do.
Speedcafé: V8 Supercars get around the Island in a 32, so that’s pretty impressive.
Jack Perkins: Since the new surface has been laid we’re not sure what a V8 Supercars will do 31 or 32 in qualifying, but by the end of the race and tyres you are doing 36’s and 37’s. So for a small car that is massively underpowered a 38 is not a bad lap time.
Speedcafé: You’ve had a busy year so far behind the microphone through the Sprintcar season and at Supercar events, what have you driven so far this year other than the V8 Supercars?
Jack Perkins: ”In terms of V8 Supercars I haven’t driven one since Bathurst last year but I also did the last round of the New Zealand V8 SuperTourers at Ruapuna. But this year it’s only been the Dunlop Series races in Perth recently, which didn’t go as well as would have liked, so this is my second race for the year. It’s great to be driving with Mark Griffith who is a guy that has helped me out over the years so it’s good fun.
Speedcafé: Was this year your first taste of Speedway?
Jack Perkins: I’ve followed the speedway for a few years and myself and Moff (James Moffat) and Sladey (Tim Slade) have gone around over the past few summers as spectators and this year was my first as a commentator and it was good fun. It was good to work with Wade Aunger and commentate the World Series Sprintcars on Speed TV and I really enjoyed it.
Speedcafé: Any desires to race a Sprintcar?
Jack Perkins: “I will never say no to racing most things to be honest but its hard with the family name as you’re expected to win at everything you do so you jump in a Sprintcar and if I don’t win people think I’m not a very good driver. But I’d love to have a drive of one first and see how we went and if I was going to do any racing it’s in good equipment and go from there. Racings what I have really enjoyed doing my whole life so anytime there’s a steering wheel in front of me I’m pretty happy.
Speedcafé: But I take it your goal remains V8 Supercars and getting back in the main game?
Jack Perkins: Absolutely the priority and preference. It’s more through commercial reasons why I’ve been missing out the last few years, but I’ve been lucky enough to drive with some really good teams and really good drivers in the enduros – Stone Brothers and Russell Ingall and Paul Morris and of course Garry Rogers where I’m back for a second year in a row getting a good opportunity there and its pretty cool when the phone rings and people come and ask you to drive a race car.”
Speedcafé: The GRM cars are doing well this year, so you must be looking forward to the enduros?
Jack Perkins: I was really pleased to be there last year, its one of the best team environments I’ve been with and I get along great with Garry, and Scott and Alex are going really well so I can’t wait to get to Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast with them.
Speedcafé: Who will you be teaming up with, Scott McLaughlin or Alex Premat?
Jack Perkins: That hasn’t been decided yet, but to be honest it makes no difference to me. I drive the with the same mentality which is hand the car back in one piece and do the best job you can. So either way its no difference and the team will make the decision when they need to.