Percat set for last-minute single-seater return

Percat has taken up a last-minute offer to drive one of Arise Racing’s Formula 1000 cars at Barbagallo Raceway tomorrow, a text message yesterday afternoon leading to a flight from Melbourne to Perth this morning.

He’s testing the car this afternoon, ahead of a qualifying session and three races tomorrow.

It will be Percat’s first race in an open-wheeler since he won a Formula MRF race at the Indian Grand Prix back in 2011, two years after he dominated the Australian Formula Ford Championship.

“Honestly, I was hanging around at home with [my dog] Nelson on Thursday and I got a text message saying ‘what are you doing? Do you want to have a skid this weekend?’,” explained Percat.

“I said ‘yeah, why not?’. We checked the flights, found what we needed, and I jumped on the bird this morning and flew to Perth. So I genuinely only found out about 4pm yesterday.

“I don’t know a lot about the cars, but I’m expecting it to be a lot of fun to drive. I’m just looking forward to driving an open-wheeler again. I haven’t even thought about expectations or anything like that, I haven’t had time to.

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“But I’m looking forward to it. When you race against different people you learn new tricks. That’s why I do the karting as well. There will be some guys in the field here who are young and have new ways of doing things. You never stop learning.”

The one-off appearance also strengthens ties between Percat and Arise, the 2011 Bathurst 1000 winner set to judge a talent search programme for the team later this month.

“The positive for me is that I get a closer look at what Arise Racing is doing over here, and a better understanding of the car that the talent search winner will be racing,” he added.

“So it works out well, and I get to have a bit of fun along the way.”

The 13-car F1000 field will also include former Australian cricketer Mitchell Johnson, now a regular on the state racing scene in WA.

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