The underrated guru engineer in Supercars
Saturday 27th March, 2021 - 2:00pm
When attention occasionally turns to the engineer behind a Supercars driver’s results, there’s a select few in the limelight that spring to mind.
David Cauchi guided Jamie Whincup to two of his titles and now is directly working with unbeaten series leader Shane van Gisbergen.
Adam De Borre and Alistair McVean share particularly tight relationships with their respective race-winning drivers, Chaz Mostert and David Reynolds.
And then there’s Dick Johnson Racing mastermind Ludo Lacroix…
But at the forefront of those flying under the radar is lead Brad Jones Racing engineer Andrew Edwards.
Edwards has called the shots for Nick Percat since an opportune moment to link up arose at the 2018 Australian Grand Prix and the pair have not looked back.
Percat struggled dearly in his first season at BJR in 2017 but since then has been the Albury squad’s spearhead, never again finishing outside the championship’s top 10.
Even better than seventh overall was certainly possible in a 2020 campaign featuring a pair of race wins at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Edwards has been key to that sustained success in taking the fight to the category’s powerhouse teams.
“For me, he’s probably the reason I get good results,” Percat told Speedcafe.com.
“Just the way we interact with each other works really well for both of us. We’re both very passionate and driven to get good results.”
When his previous engineer Paul Scalzo – who remains a key figure behind the scenes at BJR – was unable to attend the 2018 Grand Prix event, the team’s engineering manager Edwards stepped into the breach.
The chemistry with Percat was instant, netting two podiums in their first race weekend working together.
“I saw what he was doing with Macauley [Jones] when he used to help him a little bit in Super2 and obviously he was the head of the engineering department at BJR,” Percat recalled.
“For me, I sat back and thought to myself, ‘it would be good to have the best bloke on a car, with the way his ideas and concepts work’.
“Then coincidentally, we got the opportunity… we just clicked really well and it worked well.”
Percat relishes Edwards’ successes, and vice versa.
“AE definitely flies under the radar,” the 2011 Bathurst 1000 winner continued.
“He’s pushed a lot of design work and concepts and set-up paths to get us to where the team is at the moment, so without him in the team, we would definitely be weaker as a whole unit.
“I’m the lucky one who gets to have him on my car, so it works out well for me and Brad [Jones, team owner] likes the way we work together.
“I guess I like it because there’s no song and dance, we just go to races and we try to make the car go as fast as we can and we enjoy it together. It works well.
“He enjoys going under the radar and taking the fight to the big dogs, and we get a lot of satisfaction out of the days we do beat the Chaz/De Borres or your Cauchis and stuff like that.
“The good thing is up and down pit lane, they’re the first guys to come down and talk to him and say ‘good job’, or whatever is happening.
“In pit lane I think he is very highly respected, which is pretty cool too.”
Having seemingly solved BJR’s Sandown riddle, last weekend snapping an eight-year top 10 drought for the team at the Victorian track, Percat and Edwards shift their focus to the Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint on April 10-11.
The R&J Batteries Holden driver is eighth in the 2021 standings.