South Australia’s Nick Percat says he’ll forever cherish an Adelaide 500 trophy replica gifted to him by event organisers after his win on the streets in 2016.
The Adelaide-born driver’s second win in the Supercars Championship came with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, who emerged victorious in a rain-soaked and red-flagged 48-lap affair.
It would be the only win for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport in its eight-year history as part of the Supercars Championship.
Percat’s sole Supercars success at the event and first win as a solo driver was recognised by organisers who gave him a replica of the Adelaide 500 trophy.
“It always put on a good show and I was one of the lucky ones that got to stand on the top step,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“Thankfully, at that time, the amazing guys and girls that ran the Adelaide 500, or Clipsal 500 as it was called then, gave me a proper replica of that trophy.
“I think I’m one of the only ones who has a full-blown legit replica of the proper gold cup. I’ll always cherish that.”
The Brad Jones Racing driver has attended every Formula 1 and Supercars round at the Adelaide Parklands Circuit since he was born in 1988.
Growing up, Percat used to bail out of school, unbeknownst to his mother, to join his father on the sidelines.
Reminiscing on his childhood years, the 32-year-old said the absence of engine noise echoing throughout the city will be “quite sad”.
“As a young kid growing up the race cars would be on track Thursday and Friday and I’d be sitting at school hanging to be there,” he said.
“I’d be sitting at school and then leave. I just had to be there.
“Mum would be like, ‘You’re going to school,’ but dad and I would form a plan and he would come and pick me up and we’d go to the track.
“I sat at the same corner every single year, Turn 11, the one back into the parklands. I stood on the outside of that corner and would just be glued to the track.
“It didn’t matter what cars were on or what drivers, I would be at the same spot every single year until I was physically driving there.
“For us, as a family, it was a big event. We never got grandstand tickets or anything like that. It was more about being close to the action.
“You’d get your general admission pass and paddock pass, go and see the drivers, teams, look at the back of garages. For any young boy or girl growing up who loves cars, being that close to them is unbelievable.
“It’s quite sad for the state really.”
Percat said the demise of the event is a major blow for not only South Australia but motorsport in Australia as a whole.
The four-time Supercars Championship race winner said the event was the sole reason he pursued a career in the sport and says future generations may miss out.
“It’s massively disappointing,” he said.
“Honestly, the reason I wanted to be a racing car driver was because I was at that event watching the racing cars go around it. I’d say that’s probably the same for a lot of young drivers in South Australia.
“It’s such a seriously cool event. It’s not just the cars. For me, watching, it was all about the cars, but outside of that there’s the whole show and all the drivers up in lights at the street parties and the cafes, restaurants, and pubs being absolutely chock-a-block.
“That was the cool bit of that event, it wasn’t just a race. It was the city getting behind the Adelaide 500 and loving every second of it.”