10 minutes with Nick Percat
Ahead of the 2017 Clipsal 500 Adelaide, we chat to Adelaide’s own race-car driver – and the winner of last year’s event – Nick Percat.
How long have you been racing and how did you get involved in the sport?
I started karting when I was seven years old! My dad loves motorsport and is a mechanic so I naturally loved cars. I made the step up into car racing in 2006 in Aussie racing cars, then progressed through Formula Ford, Porsche Carrera Cup and Dunlop Series Supercars.
How physically demanding is a race like the Clipsal 500 Adelaide and what sort of training do you do to prepare?
The way I describe racing a supercar at the Clipsal is to imagine yourself in a sauna, wearing three layers of clothing, sitting on a spin bike with your heart rate at 180bpm, and then jumping between bench press and leg press every minute! It’s physically and mentally draining! I do three hours of cardio each morning and then I go to the gym each night for strength training.
What's it like racing in front of a home crowd?
It’s amazing; the atmosphere and vibe at Clipsal is like no other!
Having won the Clipsal 500 Adelaide in 2016, what are your expectations for this year's race?
I expect to be fighting inside the top five with Brad Jones Racing (BJR) at the Clipsal 500. I’ll have a good car and team behind me!
What's your race-day routine?
I’m pretty casual with all of this. The one thing I do is make sure I’m in my race suit one hour before the next on-track session and always clean my racing helmet each morning.
When you're not racing, what do you do with your downtime?
I hang out at home with my girlfriend and my chocolate Labrador. I like to hang around home because we’re away so much.
What's your career highlight?
Winning the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.
What sort of car do you drive off the track?
Mercedes CLA 45 Shooting Brake.
Who's your greatest opponent?
That’s a hard one; everyone in the field is so good. I’ve had a good rivalry with Scott McLaughlin over the years.
Who would you consider your greatest hero? Why?
Michael Schumacher. He’s the best and always will be. Such dedication
and raw speed!
What are the best and worst parts of being a race-car driver?
The best part of my job is me living my childhood dreams! Also getting to travel so much and see the country. The worst parts are the airports and being away from my friends so much!
The 2017 Clipsal 500 Adelaide is on from 2 to 5 March. This year, RAA Insurance is sponsoring the track marshals, who ensure the track is safe for racing, and also providing free shuttle buses for all racegoers – whether they're members or not.
Image © Nick Percat