Nick Percat says his switch to Brad Jones Racing is helping change his off-track image as he works to improve the performance of the team’s Holden package.
Though much was expected of Percat’s switch to BJR, early season crashes have left the South Australian frustrated at times and halted his ability to adapt to the team’s package.
Although down in 15th in the championship as a result, the 28-year-old explained he is well placed within the family environment to make the most of his current opportunity.
After team boss Brad Jones stressed at the start of the year he would work with Percat on his perception outside of the car, the 2011 Bathurst winner says he's been able to control his emotions better this season in the BJR environment.
“Obviously the general view of people is hard to change. It’s hard to get your first impression back,” Percat told Supercars.com.
“But Brad knew me a few years ago. There’s been a few comments around where people go ‘I met Nick and he’s actually a good guy’ which is nice to know.
“I think through the last few years it’s been a frustrating time for me. I probably vented at the wrong time and things like that, but being in this environment makes it easier.
"My engineer Paul Scalzo and data engineer Danny (Sims), Brad (Jones), Kim (Jones) and everyone get it.
“They get I’ve had a frustrating start to my Supercars career after a promising 2014 where I thought I’d have the same drive the following year after podiums and being up the front.
“It was going pretty good and for that to be taken away and a few positions I’ve been in over the years, like anything, you get frustrated.
“The good thing is they understand it and work with me. There’s things we’re doing behind the scenes to help that view.”
Adding to that changed perception is Percat’s involvement in grassroots motorsport.
Percat will travel to Emerald in Queensland as he continues to take part in the Australian Karting Championship alongside a host of up and coming drivers.
Percat scored a podium finish in Darwin this year
“I’m a big believer in grassroots motorsport,” he added. “I was fairly involved with Sonic in my Formula Ford days and continued that after.
“The year I won Bathurst, the weekend before I was spannering Formula Fords. I like to keep busy and this is something I where I think I can stay sharp on the KZ kart.
“I enjoy it and we have the young kids coming through that want to forge a career in motorsport.
“At the track you get a few coming up asking how to get to the point where I am and I know they enjoy racing with me.”
Percat added working closely with former Walkinshaw Racing team-mate Tim Slade again is helping the pair get the most from each other.
When asked about the biggest change since joining BJR, Percat was quick to point to the benefits of the intra-team battle.
“We push each other quite hard and are pretty hard on ourselves so it works good," he said.
“Having someone you know in the same car and doing a better job makes you find what’s going on and try to lift.
“We’re definitely working together. I think the biggest margin between us in qualifying all year is 0.15s so it’s super close between us
“It makes it easier to bounce things off him because the cars are different to what I’m used to and he had to learn that last year. When I think there’s something a little bit weird, I just ask him and I get an honest answer
“I think when you’re in a phase like we are at BJR where you don’t have the fastest cars, we’re working to try and make them faster.
“There’s no point hiding anything, we’re trying to make the team go better. If it gets to the point we’re fighting for race wins it’ll change a little bit, but it’s always been a good relationship with Sladey and it’s always been like that when I’ve been his team-mate.”
Brad Jones Racing is running a competition for fans to win $1000 worth of tyres thanks to Dunlop by correctly guessing two colours from Percat's upcoming livery for the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint.