Ford aero gives Percat confidence for Adelaide 500
Monday 20th November, 2023 - 10:40am
Nick Percat is hopeful of another big result for Walkinshaw Andretti United at the Vailo Adelaide 500 given how the new Ford aerodynamic package fared on the Gold Coast.
Chaz Mostert and Percat combined for a one-two in the Saturday race of last year’s Adelaide 500, the event at which the former factory Holden Racing Team farewelled General Motors ahead of a switch to Mustangs for the Gen3 Supercars era.
Results have been thin on the ground for Ford teams in 2023, with Cam Waters and David Reynolds delivering just the third and fourth Mustang wins of the campaign last time out in Surfers Paradise.
That event was the first for the latest version of the Mustang aero package, implemented off the back of an official parity review, and Reynolds declared that it had put the Blue Oval squads on at least a “similar” playing field.
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It has left Percat upbeat for his home event, which marks his own farewell to WAU before he moves to Matt Stone Racing in 2024.
“To have the aero package and all that tweaked at the Gold Coast, obviously it’s improved, so to think we can go there and get a good result with both cars would be amazing,” said the 2016 Adelaide 500 winner.
“So I’m hoping that, this time, Chaz bangs the indicator on and lets me go through if we’re in a one-two position, but we’ll both be very, very hungry for it.
“For me, obviously, it’s a big send-off for the team and thank you for everything but, for him, being a Ford boy, it’d be pretty cool.
“So, [if] either one of us wins, it’d be massive for the team.”
The Supercars Championship has evolved rapidly in recent years, with the end of Australian automotive production then the shuttering of Holden as a brand and the introduction of Gen3.
Even then, WAU’s defection to Ford was a tremendous shock in light of its decades of success for Holden, and it adopted a special early-1990s retro livery for last year’s Adelaide 500 to mark the occasion.
Being the son of a third-generation Holden factory worker, and having the liveries unveiled at the site of the Elizabeth plant, it was especially significant for Percat.
Reflecting on the weekend, almost 12 months on, he said, “Last year was awesome because I’d watched so many races finish where obviously they formation finished the cars in the one-two.
“Then we got to do that with the special liveries to send off Holden, [which] was amazing, especially with the background of my family and Holden.
“Chaz has become a really good mate so to have a one-two with him, I wish it was the other way around, but he drove an amazing race and I kind of just held position, kept JC [Tickford Racing’s James Courtney] at bay to make sure we had the one-two there.
“It was amazing for the team and I think it’s one of the first one-twos for the team in a long, long time, so it was pretty special to be part of that.”
Percat is set to start his final event in the #2 Mobil 1 NTI Mustang when Practice kicks off on Thursday at 15:45 local time/16:15 AEDT in Adelaide.