Brad Jones will work with new 2017 recruit Nick Percat to polish his public image and ensure the fans see his true personality.
Percat is known for speaking his mind and not holding back, and while some fans see him as a villain of Supercars, Jones believes that’s not an accurate representation.
Since joining Supercars full-time in 2013, Percat has shown he has what it takes in the car, and Jones is thrilled to have him join the squad from next season.
“I’d like to see Nick to be as polished and balanced outside the car as I believe he is inside the car, so we’ll be working on some of that stuff,” Jones told supercars.com.
“I’ve got a really high regard for what he can do in the car and I think we should let his performance in the car do his speaking – and that’s what I’ll be encouraging him that we work on together.”
The 28-year old South Australian won his home race the Clipsal 500 Adelaide in 2016 and has stood on the Bathurst podium three times, including his win in 2011 as co-driver for Garth Tander.
In two seasons with minnow squad Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport he has made an impression on the track – but also off the track as he has been honest about wanting to step up for 2017.
“It’s always hard because it’s such an emotional game and everyone reacts differently when they get out of the car – they get that massive rush of adrenalin and they want to do something about it,” Jones said.
“I think for us it’s going to be all about what we do on the track next year, and that’s what we’ll be working on.
“I’m hoping we can get him in a car where he doesn’t get maybe quite as frustrated as he’s been – he knows exactly where we stand on it.
“We believe in him and we stand behind him as part of that. As I’ve said, I think it’s an area that needs some work and we’re going to be working on it.”
So far, Jones’s experience with Percat has been nothing but positive.
“When you meet Nick and spend time with him, he’s a really friendly, easy-going guy who travels around with his dog. Nothing’s too much trouble; he's really kind, he’s got a good heart, but he doesn’t always come over like that when he jumps out of the car in the heat of the moment.
“I’m honestly more worried about what he can do for me on-track and we’ll just find a balance off.”
Percat replaces Jason Bright, who shifted with his REC (Racing Entitlement Contract) to Prodrive to fill the hole left by Super Black Racing.
He pairs with good friend Tim Slade, with Tim Blanchard lining up again in the team’s third car, now underpinned by Blanchard's own REC.