Brad Jones Racing driver Nick Percat says the resumption of the Supercars season could see some clumsiness as drivers reacquaint themselves with their cars.
The 2011 Bathurst 1000 winner has likened the restart of the Supercars season to that of Pirtek Enduro Cup co-drivers rejoining the field after months out of the cockpit.
When the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship returns at Sydney Motorsport Park on June 27-28, it will have been over three months since the ill-fated Melbourne 400.
It’s been even longer since the 24 full-time drivers raced competitively at the season-opening Adelaide 500 on February 20-23.
With just two practice sessions before the two-part qualifying for the first race of the Sydney SuperSprint, Percat is anticipating an exciting resumption of play.
“After watching the AFL first game back, you could see how rusty the players were, and obviously they get to actually kick the footie and do training drills and all that in this period, where we’re not actually allowed to drive the cars,” Percat told Speedcafe.com.
“It’s going to be an interesting first practice session. It might be a bit scary going on full throttle again.
“It’s going to be seriously exciting racing, and I think the lack of time we get to tune the cars between sessions, it’s going to make it very interesting.
“Hopefully we’ll put on a good show.”
During the coronavirus-induced lockdown, Percat and the full field of Supercars drivers participated in the iRacing-based BP Supercars All Stars Eseries.
While Percat isn’t worried the Eseries will have an impact on the driving standards, he’s expecting it will take time for drivers to get back up to speed given due to the extended layoff.
“There could just be some clumsy little mistakes made in the pack, on the starts, stuff like that,” he said.
“All of us get very good at driving mirror-to-mirror on starts and giving just enough room to have good fair racing, but going to Sydney now, we haven’t been kind of doing that for a while.
“You might unintentionally run someone out of road a bit, or they might accidentally end up in an awkward slide and drill someone.
“It’ll be interesting because we always talk about how hard the Supercar is to drive compared to say a GT car.
“Now, we’re the ones that are coming back into these cars with a big gap where normally we’re talking about the co-drivers not getting enough laps between the lead into enduros.”
Percat said he’s conscious that mistakes could be made and tempers may flare as a result.
However, he hopes that his counterparts will take a measured approach to the restart and are conscious of the state of play.
“Hopefully, if things do go down, everyone takes it a little bit – not lighthearted – but not personally,” he said.
“There’s going to people getting back up to speed at different levels
“I’m looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds, and the first start is going to be a laugh.
“There could be some seriously big 11’s left on the grid at SMP.”
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship resumes at Sydney Motorsport Park on June 27-28.