Price and Perkins move up to V8 Supercars
JACK Daniel’s Racing will elevate V8 Supercar rookie sensations Shane Price and Jack Perkins to fulltime drives in the main V8 Supercar Championship Series for the team in the 2007 season.
The duo, who debuted in the V8 Supercar Development Series in 2006 with great success, finished second and third respectively in the feeder series and will line up in a pair of all new VE Commodores
currently under build at the Perkins Engineering workshops in Melbourne.
Perkins Jr. will assume the famous #11 numberplate run by his famous father and team boss Larry, while Price will drive the #7 Jack Daniel’s Racing Commodore.
Team boss Larry Perkins said that he had considered other experienced V8 Supercar drivers to join his outfit, but in the end decided to opt for youth, which he feels is a strong long-term strategy.
“Both Shane and Jack have showed considerable improvement and development in their first season and I felt they should be rewarded as such,” Perkins said.
“They both know that the step into the main series is massive and they will need to be as prepared as they can be.
“Their experience of the circuits, not just from the Development Series but also competing in the endurance events last year and some additional events under another team’s franchise, will definitely
speed up their learning process.
“Naturally, I’m proud to see the name ‘Perkins’ on the side of the #11 Commodore. But Jack isn’t going to get a free or an easy ride. He is treated the same as Shane and the rest of the team and he’s
expected to perform.”
Perkins Jr, 20, was going to return to the Development Series for another season year, until receiving the news that he would be driving in the main series from his father a day before the team went on its Christmas break.
“The drive was something unexpected because three weeks before Christmas I was doing another year in the Development Series then
a day before the team went on holidays I was told I was going
into the main series,” he said.
“It was never a sure thing by any stretch of the imagination, so I got stuck into the training and while plenty of other drivers were into the Christmas pudding, I was out running!
“It will be a little humbling to line up fulltime alongside guys on the grid who I’ve watched for so many years. But I don’t expect them to cut me any slack at all. That’s not how the game works.
“I don’t think we can make any predictions just yet as to whereabouts in the field we will be running.
“There’s a clear focus in our workshop at the moment on having two brand new VE Commodores ready to run for the first round and we’ll progress from there.”
Price, who turned 20 on Boxing Day, was the standout in last year’s Fujitsu Series.
In his debut year in a V8 Supercar he not only finished second in the championship, but put together consecutive runner-up round results in five events straight.
A strong debut in the Sandown 500 alongside Perkins in the second Jack Daniel’s Commodore was followed by the disappointment of not getting to drive at Bathurst when Perkins was innocently
involved in an opening lap crash.
“It’s fair to say that I have a fair few nerves and we’re still two months away from the first race of the year at Adelaide!” Price said.
“But this is an opportunity you don’t get very often. It’s quite rare for a team to have two new drivers to start a season with.
“I’d like to think that we can give a good account of ourselves and put into practice what we’ve learnt over the last 12 months.
“Having all new cars as well will give it that added feeling of something special, but I’m not going to get too carried away. We have a job to do and that is why Larry and Jack Daniel’s Racing have placed
their trust in us.”
With his two Development Series drivers now progressing to the main championship, Perkins Sr. still intends to run cars in the Fujitsu Series, dependent on funding.
He tested three young second generation drivers – James Moffat, James Small and Tim Blanchard – at Winton late last year.
With the introduction of the new VE Commodore, Perkins has five VZ Commodores in the Jack Daniel’s Racing workshop, so machinery for a Development Series campaign would not be a worry.
“We’ll sit down during the off-season and see what unfolds in regards to running in that series, but all three young guns did a solid job at the test,” Perkins Sr. said.
“I’m a firm believer in the Development Series and developing young drivers, who will eventually come through and take over the mantle from the established names in the sport.”