JACK Perkins’ deal to join Erebus Motorsport for the Repco Bathurst 1000 reconnects the driver with a key figure in his early Supercars career, Barry Ryan.
Erebus announced this morning that Perkins will co-drive with Will Brown in ‘The Great Race’, as another experienced campaigner, David Russell, joins Brodie Kostecki.
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While Ryan is now well entrenched as Erebus’ team boss, his history includes a six-year stint at Perkins Engineering prior to the team’s sale at the end of 2008.
That period included Jack’s progression into a driving role at PE, beginning in 2006 where he competed in the Super2 Series and the Sandown and Bathurst enduros.
Perkins then moved to a full-time Supercars Championship drive with the team in 2007 before a diabetes diagnosis forced him to step back.
In 2009 Perkins returned to the main game with PE’s successor Kelly Racing, which Ryan had also moved to.
Fast-forward more than a decade and Perkins was a logical get for Erebus, adding valuable experience to the team’s youthful full-time driver lineup.
“Both Jack and Dave are very experienced co-drivers who we can rely on to support and guide Will and Brodie respectively,” said Ryan.
“I’m personally very close with Jack after my six years at Perkins Engineering and it’ll be great to tackle Bathurst together in the same team.”
Added Jack: “Erebus have been one of the few teams that have beaten the big ones at Bathurst in recent years and they know what it takes to win the Great Race.
“I’ve got lots of time and respect for Barry Ryan who played a big part in my racing when I first started driving [and] racing Supercars.”
Ryan took several Erebus team members to visit the Perkins Engineering workshop early last year following the restoration of PE041; a car Ryan had originally helped build.
Now back in the VY Commodore specification in which six-time winner Larry Perkins drove his last Bathurst 1000 in 2003, it was also Jack’s first Great Race car in ’06.
It is one of 50 Perkins Engineering Commodores set to feature in our new book ‘Perkins Engineering: The Cars, 1986-2008’ which can be pre-ordered in the V8 Sleuth Bookshop.
Ryan is a polarising figure in the Supercars paddock known for his straight-shooting style and says he learnt a lot during his time working with Larry.
His stint at PE began as a mechanic before he progressed to engineering and team management duties.