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WAU’s plan for Percat in 2023

WALKINSHAW Andretti United is set to entrust rising star Adam Austin with a full-time race engineering role in the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship.

A member of WAU since early 2018, Austin has been on the cans for the team’s wildcard entries the last two years: Kurt Kostecki last season and Jayden Ojeda this time around.

He was promoted to the lead role on Nick Percat’s Car #2 for the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 last weekend, with Grant McPherson given an early release to start today as Grove Racing technical director.

Their first race together netted a top 10 result, before Percat was an innocent victim in the Sunday carnage.

WAU team principal Bruce Stewart confirmed to V8 Sleuth that the plan is for Percat/Austin to be a long-term combination.

There had for a time been speculation the Clayton squad may look to recruit an external replacement for McPherson.

“Adam has been a high-achieving engineer for our team for a long time and we’re super happy and proud that he has made the step forwards,” Stewart said.

“He will be the engineer for Car #2 (in 2023) and that’s a great thing.

Adam Austin (middle). Pic: Walkinshaw Andretti United

“We’re all around him and he’s a WAU person through and through, so every round is an opportunity for him to cement his relationship with Nick and equally next year is super exciting with such a talented engineer as him on Car #2.”

Percat started the year with Geoffrey Slater as his engineer.

WAU technical director Carl Faux filled in for Slater at the Perth SuperSprint, before the team then parted ways with the latter following Round 5 at Winton.

McPherson had guided Car #2 from the Darwin Triple Crown in June until the Repco Bathurst 1000 last month.

“For me, when Geoff left I would have preferred to go straight in with Adam but the idea was to utilise Shippy (McPherson) a bit longer and do it this way and then get ready for next year,” Percat said on this week’s Castrol Motorsport News podcast.

“I have kind of had to be pretty resilient this year with what’s going on with Car #2, it has not been smooth sailing at all from that side of things, so it’s just go with the flow.”

After a torrid mid-season stretch, the 2011 Bathurst 1000 winner has showed far improved form of late – something he puts down to a problem detected at Sandown.

“There was nothing actually physically wrong with it but we just changed the rear rollbar system and I just get a better feel from the car now,” explained Percat.

“It’s one of those motorsport things, you put that one on the shelf and I never want to see it again.

“Even though we couldn’t find any crack in it or anything, I just had a couple of rounds with that rollbar and I just lost everything.

“Ever since we changed that it has been good.”

On the other side of the WAU garage, Chaz Mostert who is engineered by Adam De Borre, is a on a three-race podium streak which has lifted him to third in the championship.

One round remains this season: the Adelaide 500 on December 1-4.

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