LARRY Perkins’ explanation of how he chose the racing number 11 – the digits synonymous with his touring car career – is perfectly in line with his practical and pragmatic approach to racing.
On Friday at the Sandown SuperSprint, Perkins handed over the number to Dick Johnson Racing’s Anton De Pasquale, who will use the number with LP’s blessing in the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship.
Perkins used the #11 in all three of his Bathurst 1000 wins under the Perkins Engineering banner, and made 156 of his 161 career Australian Touring Car/Supercars Championship appearances using the number.
The history of his team’s cars will be told in the upcoming book Perkins Engineering: The Cars, 1986 – 2008, a 400-plus page book including never-before-published insights and photographs and using Perkins Engineering’s official records to help compile the ultimate history book.
It’s currently available to pre-order in the V8 Sleuth Bookshop – click HERE to secure your copy.
But how did Perkins settle on the #11 in the first place?
“When I first registered my car in the Australian Touring Car Championship, I chose 11 because it was just straight digits,” he said.
“It was cheap and easy to print, and I only had to carry spares of one number which made it simple to replace on the car!
“The number originally didn’t mean anything to me really; it was just a number.
“But it became a part of history, and I’m very pleased to see it continue in Supercars today.
“Anton is a fantastic young talent, so when Dick (Johnson) and Ryan (Story) asked me if he and the team could use the number, I was more than happy for them to continue its legacy.”
Perkins and Johnson had a brief alliance between the former’s exit from the Holden Dealer Team in 1985 and his creation of Perkins Engineering in 1986.
Perkins served as DJR’s team manager for the 1985 Sandown and Bathurst enduros, and drove Ford Mustangs carrying both Johnson’s signature #17 and the #18.
With the team’s trademark #17 slated for fellow new recruit Will Davison, De Pasquale’s choice of the #11 was prompted by personal link to the number.
“I raced with #11 in Europe and won the 2014 Formula Renault Championship with it,” De Pasquale said.
“Moving overseas to race was the first big move in my racing career and in life, and that’s when I changed to 11.
“Now, moving to Queensland and to the Shell V-Power Racing Team is my second big move, so I’m excited to be running 11 again.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to Larry for entrusting me with his number, and I’ll make sure I do it proud.”
DJR Chairman and CEO Ryan Story added: “I told him we could only do so with LP’s blessing.
“Number 11 is an iconic number in our sport, and to me it will always be Larry’s number.
“Despite it not having been used for the past few seasons, I thought it fit and proper for Dick and myself to reach out to his old sparring partner and one-time teammate, and that’s what’s led us to today’s announcement.”