Castrol Gold Coast 600 winner Jack Perkins has cut short the annual harvest on the family farm to fill in for unwell Holden driver Nick Percat at this weekend’s Coates Hire Sydney 500.
Percat was sidelined at Phillip Island with an infection flaring up after practice and on medical advice will also sit out the final round of the year, turning to Perkins to race the #222 Repair Management Australia Commodore.
“It was a bit like Days of Thunder. I was sitting on the tractor up at the farm mid-harvest and I got the call from Nick to ask if I would drive,” Perkins said.
“We’ve been busy with barley and wheat on the farm this year, so I’ve been there three weeks and when I got the phone call I got on the UHF radio to Dad and told him I’d be going to Sydney instead of finishing the harvest.
“I’m really happy to help out Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, and thanks to the Holden Racing Team and Holden for giving me a chance to jump in another Commodore. I’m just looking forward to doing a good job and getting some solid results at Homebush.”
Percat said he is disappointed to miss the season-ending event but he did not want to be there to make up the numbers.
I won't be driving in Sydney. Body isn't 100% and I don't want to risk anything. @jack_perkins will do a good job for @LD_Motorsport .✌?✌?
“I hate missing another race, but I am feeling pretty average and couldn’t give the 100 per cent required so there’s little point in trying to race,” Percat said. “I need to fully recover, so I am happy for Jack to fill in for me this weekend. He’s going to do a great job, while I’ll turn my focus towards 2016.”
Perkins won in his last V8 appearance five weeks ago, co-driving with the HRT’s James Courtney, and said he looks forward to the assignment of driving another team’s Holden.
“I’ve been riding a wave since my first win on the Gold Coast. I haven’t quite had the surfboard trophy in the water but it’s been a great couple of weeks celebrating, so it’s fantastic to have a chance to get one more drive before Christmas.
“It’s an interesting task to jump from a Holden Racing Team built Commodore into a Triple Eight built one, and I’m really excited to see what it offers. I know it will be quicker than the 18km/h my tractor does!” he said.
“I don’t have any preconceived ideas – I just want to get behind the wheel and have a bit of fun and do the best I can for Lucas and the team."
The 3.42km Sydney street circuit is notorious among drivers, and Perkins knows the importance of staying out of trouble.
“This is one of the toughest events of the season. You’ve got a concrete lined circuit and a high attrition rate. It’s a similar format to Clipsal where it’s twin 125km races on Saturday and a long 250km on Sunday, and you’ve just got to get to the finish line to be in it,” Perkins said.
The Coates Hire Sydney 500 begins with practice from 10:25 AEDT on Friday around Sydney’s Olympic Park Precinct.