Brad Jones Racing Supercars driver Nick Percat will take on some of the world’s best karters in this weekend’s Race of Stars International Karting event on the Gold Coast.
The biggest karting event in the Southern Hemisphere marks the start of activities leading up to the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 on October 20-22, the final leg of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
More than 230 drivers will compete at Pimpama’s Xtreme Karting Complex, with Percat to race a CRG in the KZ2 gearbox class.
“Karting for me is always a huge amount of fun, but like any race – once you strap your helmet on you’re out there to be faster than your opposition,” Percat said.
“I was at the Race of Stars a couple of years ago as a spectator and was excited just watching, now to be racing is going to be very cool.
“The speeds at the Xtreme Karting Complex is insane, it’s the fastest kart track in the country by a mile.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out there and having a crack.”
The 2016 and ’17 World Champion Paolo De Conto will be on the KZ2 grid along with fellow Italian Davide Forè, the pair having won the past three events on the Gold Coast.
De Conto (#1) leading the field on the Gold Coast last year (Pic: Coopers Photography)
Other internationals include two-time Race of Stars runner-up Marijn Kremers (Netherlands), Rick Dreezen (Belgium) and Joel Johansson (Sweden).
“As a kid I remember looking up to World Champion Davide Forè, two years ago I saw him race for the first time on the Gold Coast – I was simply in awe,” said Percat.
“Now, to have the opportunity to be in the same race as the current World Champion Paolo De Conto is going to be mega.
“He’s just one of the top drivers that I know I’ll be up against from overseas, let alone the high level of talent that there is here in Australia.
“To be alongside him in the Team CRG pit area is going to be something else, I’m sure that I’ll be able to gain a lot from his experience with this type of kart.”
The best-placed Australian driver in KZ2 will receive the Jim Morton Trophy, recognising the contribution Morton - who passed away in 2014 - made to karting and young drivers.
A one-time Supercars team owner, Morton was a key figure in the formative careers of the likes of James Courtney, Mark Winterbottom, Ryan Briscoe, Jason Bright and Michael Caruso.
Courtney will be present this weekend, mentoring nearly 20 drivers racing with his JC Kart brand.