NICK PERCAT’S ROLLERCOASTER ROAD TO 250 SUPERCARS STARTS

Nick Percat during his debut weekend at Phillip Island in 2010. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

SEVERAL drivers are chalking up key career Repco Supercars Championship milestones at this weekend’s BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint.

A week after Triple Eight notched its 250th round start, its drivers Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen have reached their 250th and 200th respectively, while Kelly Grove Racing’s super-sub Luke Youlden makes it to 50.

Here though we’re focusing on the career of Nick Percat, who will line up for his 250th race start in the second race of the weekend on Sunday.

We chart the 33-year-old’s rollercoaster career to date through his milestone races, which have brought the now Gold Coast-based South Australian significant success.

Race #1 – L&H 500, Phillip Island
September 12, 2010

Phillip Island, 2010. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

A year before he won the Bathurst 1000 as a rookie alongside Garth Tander at the Holden Racing Team, a 21-year-old Percat debuted in the V8 Supercars Championship at the Phillip Island 500.

The call-up to co-drive Andrew Thompson’s Bundaberg Red Racing Commodore came as US-based Ryan Briscoe was only available for Bathurst. They finished well down in 26th, but important experience was banked.

Race #50 – Clipsal 500 Adelaide (Race 1)
February 28, 2015

Clipsal 500, 2015. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Despite his 2011 Bathurst win, it took Percat until 2014 to be given a full-time drive with Walkinshaw Racing through an opportunity created by South Aussie businessman and licence holder James Rosenberg.

When that deal fell over after one year, Percat landed at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport. His first race for LDM at the Adelaide season-opener combined as his 50th race start, and he finished 18th.

Race #100 – Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000
October 9, 2016

Bathurst 1000, 2016. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Percat’s second season at LDM featured two clear highlights; a shock victory on home soil at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide and a less well remembered but equally impressive podium at the Bathurst 1000.

Joined this time by Cameron McConville, it was Percat’s third visit to the Bathurst podium in six starts having combined with Brit Oliver Gavin to claim third in the chaotic 2014 Great Race.

Race #150 – Darwin Triple Crown (Race 2)
June 17, 2018

Hidden Valley, 2018. Pic: Supplied

By the time Percat reached his 150th he was in his second season at his current home, Brad Jones Racing, driving the squad’s #8 entry.

The milestone race in Darwin yielded a sixth-place finish in a year where Percat turned his obvious potential into regular results. He ended the campaign a career-best 10th in the standings.

Race #200 – Sydney SuperSprint (Race 2)
June 28, 2020

Sydney Motorsport Park, 2020. Pic: Supplied

When racing returned after a lengthy COVID-19 pandemic-induced break in mid-2020, Percat and BJR came out firing. They won the second race back from the break, which doubled as Percat’s 200th.

It was just the second win in a single-driver Supercars race for Percat and he duly backed it up with another at the same circuit three weeks later.

Race #250 – Sydney SuperSprint (Race 2)
November 14, 2021

Sydney Motorsport Park, 2021. Pic: BJR

Percat will line up for his 250th in Race 2 of this weekend’s Sydney SuperSprint. It’ll be his third-last event for Brad Jones Racing having opted to join Walkinshaw Andretti United next season.

He’s currently seventh in the 2021 championship, equalling a career-best earned last year. He’s finished four of the six Sydney races held over recent weeks in the top four, albeit for just one podium.