Staying 'cruisy' amid a career-changing move

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 12/01/2021
  • By James Pavey, Images Anton De Pasquale Instagram

Moving to a champion team, and replacing a champion driver. They’re big obstacles to overcome, and it can only make or break a driver’s career.

Anton De Pasquale’s off-season was more turbulent than most, with the young gun recruited by Dick Johnson Racing.

All the while, the Victorian native was one of dozens of team members who had to wait to return home amid the COVID-19 pandemic state restrictions.

After completing a career-best season for Erebus Motorsport, which featured a maiden race victory in Darwin, the 25-year-old was confirmed alongside Will Davison in an all-new DJR driver line-up.

Having secured the biggest move of his career, De Pasquale was able to return to his family’s farm west of Melbourne, which he hadn’t visited since Victorian teams dashed for the NSW border.

"I got home for Christmas and New Year’s. It was my first time back home to see family since we left Melbourne originally," he told

"It was good to catch up with everyone again. Getting home to the farm, I think my dog missed me the most, he was the most excited!

"After Bathurst, no one could really return home [to Victoria]. We ended up with a friend of ours in Adelaide and spent a bit of time there.

"It was like a two-week holiday that we didn’t have much choice on.

"I had time to plan next year and sort that stuff out, trying to work out when we could go home again."

Moving to a new team - and a champion team at that - marks a key career moment for De Pasquale, who will step into the hot seat at DJR following the exits of three-time champion Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard.

However, while eyes will be on De Pasquale as he bids to mount a title challenge, he has committed to keeping his life as "cruisy" as he can.

From fishing to jet-skiing, sand driving to scuba diving, De Pasquale continues to keep his mind and body fresh away from the high-intensity life of Supercars racing.

However, a continued foray with cycling enables him to keep tabs on his competitive nature, even if it’s a leisurely ride with friends.

"This time of year is good for relaxing, but it’s also good to get training for the new season," he said.

"I’ve been back on the pushbike, which I really hadn’t been able to during the year because we were away from home.

"Being back on the bike, and the Gold Coast summer’s been good, it’s been a good time to relax, get up to fun stuff and prepare for this year.

"I originally got into cycling for fitness in Europe when I was over there, trying to keep on the right weight for junior categories.

"It worked out to be really good fitness, but like anything after a while, you grow a passion for things and it’s quite similar to to car racing in a way where you can do things to the bike to make it better.

"There are techniques and data you can change so you can make more fun out of it. You go for a ride with mates and have a bit of a laugh."

Clinching the DJR move marks a critical juncture for De Pasquale, who is now armed with an opportunity to prove his worth following a 2020 littered with impressive performances, none better than his breakthrough win in Darwin.

When asked if he had noticed any key changes in how he improved in 2020, he touched on how he had made a concerted effort to execute the perfect weekend, from practice to the final race lap.

"Everyone says that your third year is time to step it up, where you can prove if you can do it or not," said De Pasquale, who made his main game debut in 2018.

"I’ve been learning to put it together over a weekend better and get as much out of the package and the team as I can on any given weekend, which is the key to being successful in this sport.

"Last year, I feel I did that better than previous years. I capitalised on good qualifying results, and when we had poor qualifyings, we worked out a way to try and get back to the front.

"That [Darwin] race was a win, but there are other wins I need to achieve still. I’ve got a lot to do in this sport and a lot of things to tick off.

"I’m going into a team which has won everything before, including the last few championships, so it’s time for me to step it up even more.

"It’s going to be a bit of a learning curve, but I’m really excited."

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