Brad Jones is confident of running three cars in the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, despite reports Jason Bright will take his REC (Racing Entitlement Contract) with him to another team to race next year.
Brad Jones Racing announced last month that Nick Percat would replace Bright to line up next to Tim Slade in 2017, with Tim Blanchard set to continue as the team’s third entry.
And while question marks surround the REC that will underpin the third Commodore, Jones was cool when questioned on Inside Supercars tonight about sourcing a licence to continue in the three-car guise.
“Yeah, we’re pretty sorted that we will be running three cars,” Jones said on Inside Supercars.
When pressed by Fairfax journalist and Supercars.com contributor Mark Fogarty on whether he had found a new REC Jones said: “Quite possibly … I’ll let you know when I’m ready to let you know Mark, and right now I’m pretty confident we’ll be running three cars.”
The rumour mill points to Jason Bright taking the licence to Prodrive Racing Australia with so much uncertainty around current fourth car Super Black Racing moving forward. Last week SBR team manager Greg Hahn, who is on the ground in New Zealand, announced he was stepping down from the role after the Coates Hire Sydney 500.
Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport and Erebus Motorsport are yet to finalise their line-ups and confirm plans for next season.
For Jones, while it was tough to see stalwart Bright leave the team, it was a natural progression for the group that has outgrown its ‘little team that could' tag as it pushes for big results.
“It’s sad to see Brighty go, he’s been fantastic and a mainstay of the company really, in terms of driving. Things change and time goes on and Nick’s stepping into the seat, so it’s a pretty exciting time for us, I think it’ll be really good,” Jones said.
“We’re going into another era where the drivers come along, drive the cars and fight each other pretty hard and that’s what I’m expecting.
“Unfortunately you don’t like change when you’re friends and you’ve been around together for a long time but this is pretty exciting stuff for us.”
Percat joins the fold with a Bathurst 1000 win as a co-driver and 2016 Clipsal 500 victory to his name. Jones revealed he had always considered the South Australian a good option.
“Preparing for the future is about having fast young guys and Nick became available," Jones said.
“I think he’s one of the best picks out there at the moment. I feel he, Scotty McLaughlin and Mostert fought pretty hard for the DVS championship so when Nick was available I felt it was an opportunity we couldn’t let slide by…
“I’ve been talking to Nick for a while and he is pretty aware of how high I rate him, so we had a lot of discussions over the years about him coming to the team.”