Percat: I owe it to Jones to win Bathurst 1000

Nick Percat. Picture: Daniel Kalisz

Nick Percat says he owes Supercars team boss Brad Jones his long-awaited first Bathurst 1000 win before he begins a new chapter in his career.

Percat, who sensationally won the 2011 Bathurst 1000 on debut with Garth Tander, is set to depart Brad Jones Racing at the end of this year’s Repco Supercars Championship.

The South Australian’s future home hasn’t been confirmed as yet, although it’s expected he’ll wind up at Walkinshaw Andretti United alongside Chaz Mostert.

Since joining Brad Jones Racing in 2017, Percat has twice won with the team. However, a Bathurst 1000 victory has remained elusive.

His best Great Race finish to date with the team remains seventh alongside Macauley Jones in 2018.

As a driver, Brad Jones stood on the Bathurst 1000 podium six times. As a team owner, he’s had cars finish on the podium three times.

The last time a Brad Jones Racing entry stood on the podium was in 2009 when Cameron McConville and the late Jason Richards finished second to Tander and Will Davison.

Percat, who will be joined this year by Dale Wood in the #8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore, said he owes Jones a win.

“Obviously, you always want to have the dream finish with any team that you leave,” Percat told Speedcafe.com.

“Even when I left Lucas [Dumbrell’s] team we rocked up at Homebush as the biggest underdog on the grid and I threw it in the Top 10 Shootout. You always want to end on a high.

“Just because I’m leaving doesn’t mean I’m not going to try any harder. He [Jones] knows with me it’s 110 percent every single lap, all the time.

“It’d just be nice to probably finish off at Bathurst in the way we’ve wanted for so long, without any issues.

“The big one for me is to give him that Bathurst result he deserves. Hopefully it works out that way and we can enjoy the moment and reflect back on the things he has achieved, because, to be honest, him and the people at BJR have done so much and made me what I am today.

“I think he should be proud of that; what he’s achieved with the way he’s helped me grow in the last five years.”

Since his 2011 win, Percat has twice more finished on the Mount Panorama podium.

In 2014, he and Oliver Gavin claimed third with James Rosenberg Racing as part of the Walkinshaw Racing umbrella.

In 2016, Percat paired up with McConville at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, once again finishing third.

His 2021 co-driver Wood has never stood on the Bathurst 1000 podium, his previous best finish fourth in 2017 with Chris Pither at Erebus Motorsport.

Percat said he’s also keen to see off his team-mates with a strong finish.

“It’d be cool to get up there with Woody and have a big crack at it and see how we end up,” he said.

“Normally when people leave teams it’s a list of all these reasons and falling outs. For me, it’s nothing like that.

“I rang Todd [Hazelwood] to let him know before it came out and the others.

“I spoke to Jack Smith and said, ‘I’m still going to be around if you want to pick up the phone and need help with anything’.

“We’re still using the same trainer. Wherever I end up, I still want the best for that team and what they’re up to.”

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