Percat victorious on single seater return
Nick Percat enjoyed a clean sweep of victories on his return to single seater racing at the weekend.
The Brad Jones Racing driver received a late call-up to race a Formula 1000 prepared by Arise Racing at state level event at Perth’s Barbagallo Wanneroo Raceway on the weekend.
Percat, who last raced an open wheeler in the 2011 MRF 1600 series in India, quickly adapted to the machinery, scoring a pole position before winning all three races and smashing the previous lap record by 0.6s in Race 1.
The 30-year-old has an affiliation with the team having been enlisted as a judge of a talent contest run by the organisation, which will offer a fully funded Formula 1000 drive to the winner.
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”It was awesome fun. It took a few laps to get the driving style sorted again and remember how I used to do it 10 years ago,” said Percat.
“They are awesome cars to drive, and the field is very competitive because the regulars cut hundreds of laps of that track. So there are some pretty speedy dudes, it was a real challenge.
“I was a little surprised to be as competitive as I was.
“I wasn’t sure where I’d stack up, because it takes a lot of time to get out of habits like where I position the car and braked and things like that.
“And being a short lap, if you’re off it a little bit you’re not fast. We set a new lap record, I think we were seven-tenths under the old one, and we didn’t even put a new tyre on it, so there’s some margin there.
“We’ve got a bit of a competition going with BD Soutar-Dawson and some of the other very talented driver coaches that drive those cars flat-out, so next time we’ll all be on the grid and we’ll all have a new set of tyres, and we’ll see what they’ve got.
“The lap I did in the race was a 53.0s, but we have data of me in the 52s, so we want to throw some new tyres at it and have a big crack.”
Percat admitted the opportunity was a valuable learning experience.
“I’m all about learning more and keeping the brain active, because you can get stuck in a routine in Supercars with the way you go about it and think about it,” he added.
“That’s why I keep doing other things. Turn 4 at Wanneroo in that car, there was no brake, and the mid-corner speed was 20 km/h up on the Supercar.
“So to turn in at full throttle, roll off for about 15 metres, and be straight back to 100 per cent throttle, that took a couple of laps to build up to. The braking markers were 50 or 100 metres later, depending on the corner.
“The opportunity came at a very good time. I’ve already told them if there’s ever a seat available again, I’ll be straight on the plane. It was mega.”
Percat’s next competitive outing will be in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship when the series heads to Queensland Raceway for the Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint from July 26-28.