Christmas has come a day early for rookie Bathurst 1000 winner Nick Percat, who has signed a multi-year contract to drive for Holden V8 Supercar team, Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.
V8 Supercar's rising star was left without a drive in 2015 when a shortfall in sponsor funding prompted V8 team licence holder James Rosenberg to decide against entering a car with Walkinshaw Racing.
But the 26-year-old, who as a rookie partnered Garth Tander to win the 2011 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, has been selected to replace retiring veteran Russell Ingall at LDM.
"Christmas has come a day early for me, I'm so thankful to Lucas Dumbrell for this opportunity," Percat said.
"It was disappointing to lose my [Walkinshaw Racing] drive; I thought I held my own during the year against some serious team-mates and only just finished outside the top 10 in points, but professional sport is a tough business.
"Thankfully, Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport had an opening, and we went hard at securing it. To have it confirmed on Christmas Eve is quite special."
Percat said he was looking forward to emerging from the shadows of his former team-mates, V8 Supercars champions Tander and James Courtney, after seven years at Walkinshaw Racing.
"To come here and be lead driver is a different scenario to what I have been used to, but LDM has very good equipment, a Triple Eight Race Engineering-built Holden Commodore, and all the right people," Percat said.
"This team has grown up considerably in the past 12 months and I want to help it continue building momentum - we can show everyone what we are all truly capable of."
Team owner Dumbrell said he was delighted to sign long-time friend Percat, believing it was the next step in the team's competitive development.
"Nick thought, through no fault of his own, it was going to be a pretty average Christmas for him so I'm thrilled that we've been able to bring him some joy for the festive season," Dumbrell said.
"I believe Nick's signing with LDM is the next step in our development as a team. It's an understatement to say I'm excited. The whole team is, and we all go away for the Christmas holidays knowing we're going to hit the track running in 2015."