Taking the reins: Percat discusses BJR leadership

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 18/02/2021
  • By James Pavey

Nick Percat has discussed 'taking the reins' at Brad Jones Racing amid a strong 2020 season for the team.

Percat was a shining light in 2020, with the former Bathurst winner claiming two race wins in Sydney, a maiden pole in Townsville, and a podium in Darwin.

The 32-year-old is the senior driver of the BJR quartet, with the team again lining up with Macauley Jones (26), Todd Hazelwood (25) and Jack Smith (21) for a second season.

The four-time race winner was himself once a young charge in an established squad, having raced out of the Walkinshaw stable prior to his BJR days.

Notably, a 24-year-old Percat combined to win the Bathurst 1000 on debut alongside Garth Tander, with the likes of Will Davison, James Courtney and David Reynolds also racing out of the Walkinshaw stables.

Having enjoyed his time under such established stars, Percat believes he has more to give to his young rising teammates at BJR.

"I'm trying to help them as much as I can," he told Supercars.com.

"I came through an era at Walkinshaw when their cars were really good. They have guys like Tander, Davison, Reynolds, JC.

"I was around those guys for so long, and I saw what they needed to win races.

"From mid-2019 to now, there's been a pretty clear direction at BJR with set-up and developing the car.

"I try to help Macca and Jack as much as I can, and now we've got Todd on for a second year, it'll be cool to see how he goes.

"I predict he'll go better this year, with a year under his belt with us. Hopefully the year runs smoother and there's less pressure on them to perform."

Percat was a standout driver last season, recording a career-best overall finish of seventh.

It marked another exponential rise for Percat in his time with BJR; after a disappointing first-up effort of 19th in 2017, he has reeled off championship finishes of 10th, ninth and seventh.

Supercars.com has listed Percat as a dark horse for the 2021 title, should BJR manage to return him to the podium often.

While seventh overall was a clear highlight, Percat believes he could have gone even better last season.

"It was obviously a very good year for us as a team," said Percat, whose 2021 livery was revealed on Thursday.

"If it wasn’t for a few niggling things in the first round in Adelaide, and then the power steering dramas at Bathurst, I could've been in the top five in the championship.

"That is super encouraging for myself, it obviously gives me a lot of confidence coming into this season.

"To take the reins of the team and lead us forward in areas I thought we could improve in, has been really cool.

"The whole team has gotten behind what we're trying to do.

"My engineer [Andrew Edwards] is a huge believer in me, and so is Brad.

"We started pushing development quite hard in 2019 gearing up for a big 2020, and it all went our way.

"It was really good."

Percat will take to Winton on Friday for official pre-season testing.

He will commence his 2021 title bid at the Repco Mt Panorama 500. Tickets are on sale now.

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