Former Bathurst 1000 winner Nick Percat has announced he will be leaving Brad Jones Racing at the end of the 2021 Supercars season, despite the Holden pilot having already signed a contract to continue racing for the team next season.
“I will be parting ways Brad Jones Racing at the end of the 2021 Supercars Championship season,” Percat said in a statement.
“This has been a difficult decision to make. […] Brad [Jones] has always backed me and had faith in me to do the job for the team, and I can’t thank him and the whole team at Brad Jones Racing enough for the last five years.
“Together we’ve battled the highs and the lows, added trophies to the cabinet and had plenty of good times. Most importantly I’ve built some very good friendships which I hope will continue on.
“In regards to next season and beyond, I’ll be announcing mine and Nelson’s plans in due course but I can confirm Nelson will not be relinquishing his role as the unofficial dog of Supercars anytime soon.”
Percat is one of many moving pieces in what’s looking likely to be one of the wildest Supercars silly seasons in recent memory, spurred on perhaps by the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the delayed launch of Gen3, and the fragmented calendar.
It’s tipped that Percat will reunite with Walkinshaw Andretti United, replacing Bryce Fullwood who has been linked to Tickford Racing (potentially leaving Jack LeBrocq on the bench).
“At the completion of the 2021 Supercars Championship season, Nick Percat will depart Brad Jones Racing,” added BJR in its own statement.
“Nick joined the team in 2017 and went on to start 134 races for 2 race wins, 7 podium finishes and a pole position. BJR continues to focus on the rest of the 2021 Championship with Nick and we will be working hard to finish the season strongly.”
Percat’s return to Walkinshaw could resolve a rocky past between the two entities. After multiple years racing for the storied squad in Super2, Percat won the 2011 Bathurst 1000 for the Holden Racing Team (the team’s former name) with Garth Tander. He made his full-time debut for the team in 2014. But despite strong results (12th in the points, with podiums at Sydney Motorsport Park and Bathurst) he was dumped by the team at the end of the season.
BJR has no drivers currently confirmed for 2022. It’s thought that Andre Heimgartner, who last week confirmed he would be departing Kelly Grove Racing at season’s end, could slot in at the team. Todd Hazelwood, Jack Smith, and Macauley Jones all remain up in the air.
BJR could feature two Kiwis, with Chris Pither lined up to rejoin the series with the backing of Coke; the current sponsor of the aforementioned Jones Jr. There could be as many as five Kiwis on the grid next year, with plenty of speculation that Toyota Racing Series champion Matthew Payne widely tipped to be the leading choice as Heimgarter’s replacement at KGR.