Percat: Paddles would ‘probably kill my love for Supercars’
Saturday 23rd January, 2021 - 7:45am
Nick Percat has stated that a move to paddle shift would “probably … kill my love for Supercars”.
Percat’s comment was made to Fox Sports and, although it is not clear exactly when the interview in question was conducted, it follows the announcement of the headline elements of Gen3 at last October’s Bathurst 1000.
Gen3 development will continue through this year ahead of its introduction in competition in 2022, with a tender document for electronic items issued earlier this month.
That tender revealed that paddle shift, along with some form of automated throttle blip, is indeed on the agenda for the new ruleset.
Percat, however, would much prefer the status quo of a stick shift, an increasingly rare feature in modern race cars.
“I hope the one thing that never changes is that we never lose the sequential gearbox on the gear stick,” said the 2011 Bathurst 1000 winner.
“I don’t want paddles on the car. I don’t think we need to be like some hybrid GT car.
“There is a reason why the Australian and international fans love our cars. When you go onboard, there is a bit going on…
“I find GT racing very, very boring, so I think the minute they go to paddles, it is probably going to kill my love for Supercars, which will be disappointing.”
Percat does have some experience with paddle shift race cars, having made a handful of Bathurst 12 Hour starts, although his only full season in Carrera Cup, in 2013, saw a sequential shift on his right-hand side.
Another Bathurst 1000 winner in Paul Morris has told Speedcafe.com that he is opposed to a potential move to assisted shift, given it would diminish the skill needed to drive a Supercar by making the heel-and-toe obsolete.
It should be noted that the introduction of paddle shift does not necessarily represent the end of the manual throttle blip, although that it is a development which the aforementioned tender points to.
Assisted shift is described in the document as one of the “Specific features of the intended engine”, while a section on ECU functionality states, “Currently assisted shift systems are under review. At this stage, an E-shift system is likely.”
As to the steering wheel, Supercars calls for tender of “A complete steering wheel with paddle shift switch mechanism”.
Percat starts a new, two-year deal with Brad Jones Racing in the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship after picking up his first two race wins with the Albury squad, and a maiden career pole, last season.