Percat anticipating sadness upon final BJR drive
Thursday 2nd December, 2021 - 6:00am
Nick Percat expects to feel a sense of sadness when he completes his final drive for Brad Jones Racing in this weekend’s Repco Bathurst 1000.
The Great Race marks the end of a five-year spell at the Albury-based team, with Percat returning to Walkinshaw Andretti United in 2022.
In his time at BJR, the South Australian has become a consistent presence in the top 10, and someone who Ryan Walkinshaw believes can help take the fight right up to Triple Eight Race Engineering.
However, Percat anticipates it will be an emotional moment just before and after his last race under current team boss Brad Jones.
“I imagine come Sunday, when he [Jones] normally puts his head in the door to say ‘good luck and have a good day’, [as he has done] before every single race for the last five years, I think that’ll be where it probably hits a bit more that this is the last one for BJR,” he said.
“I think when I take my helmet off on Sunday night, it’ll be sad.
“They’ve done a lot for me and Brad personally has done so much for me with the growth so it’s going to be a little bit sad, but also exciting as well for myself with next year and for Brad with two new drivers coming in and that.
“But, I’d like to think I’ve left the team with a pretty good foundation for Bryce [Fullwood] and Andre [Heimgartner] to work with, so it’ll be happy-sad, I guess.”
When Percat saddles up in the R&J Batteries ZB Commodore this Sunday, it will be his 10th Bathurst 1000 since winning the Great Race as a rookie with Garth Tander.
He then went and crashed Tander’s car in the 2012 race, but ultimately earned a stay of execution as co-driver in the #2 entry at the Holden Racing Team, which later morphed into WAU, in 2013.
Now 33 years of age, Percat has himself become the experience team leader at a BJR team which is otherwise populated by youngsters.
“I’ve been leading the BJR team for a few years now and probably took a lot of things that Garth taught me through those years and applied them with what I’m doing now,” he noted.
“I guess I’m a lot different to what I was, and I guess experience is the power of the sport, and your racecraft and all that comes a long way.
“It’s crazy to think back then I probably had the speed, but I had no idea of anything else, but now it’s probably a bit more of a package.”
Percat will be joined by Dale Wood in the #8 R&J Batteries-backed car this weekend, with Practice 1 taking place today from 10:00 local time/AEDT.