While the rest of the motorsport community is in near-total shutdown over the Christmas holidays, the same cannot be said of the V8 Supercars Championship, such is its ultra-short off-season.

If they’ve not sorted out their seats for the 2015 championship season already, those few drivers left off-contract have mere weeks to line up a drive for next year, or find themselves consigned to the role of a co-driver.

One man getting an early Christmas present is Nick Percat, who has today been announced as the new driver at the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport team. The 26-year-old will replace veteran driver Russell Ingall, who has officially – for the second time – announced his retirement from full-time racing.

Percat’s future was in doubt after news that James Rosenberg, the owner of the #222 Racing Entitlements Contract under which Percat raced this year, had decided to sell his REC back to the V8 Supercars Championship. That surprise news left Percat without a drive at the four-car Walkinshaw Performance Racing stable, for whom he’d been racing a Holden Commodore VF in his debut full-time season in the top-tier touring car championship.

Percat – who shot to fame by winning the Bathurst 1000 at his first attempt in 2013 as co-driver to Garth Tander – had impressed in his rookie year in the top flight, finishing twelfth in the Drivers’ Championship standings with two podium finishes, including a third place at Mt Panorama.

Nick Percat, 2014 Bathurst 1000

Percat finished third at this year’s Bathurst 1000 with co-driver Oliver Gavin.

“Christmas has come a day early for me, I’m so thankful to Lucas Dumbrell for this opportunity,” a relieved Percat said.

“It was disappointing to lose my [Walkinshaw Racing] drive; I thought I held my own during the year against some serious team-mates and only just finished outside the top 10 in points, but professional sport is a tough business. Thankfully, Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport had an opening, and we went hard at securing it. To have it confirmed on Christmas Eve is quite special.”

“Nick thought, through no fault of his own, it was going to be a pretty average Christmas for him so I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to bring him some joy for the festive season. I believe Nick’s signing with LDM is the next step in our development as a team. It’s an understatement to say I’m excited. The whole team is, and we all go away for the Christmas holidays knowing we’re going to hit the track running in 2015,” LDM team owner Lucas Dumbrell added.

The privateer team – which will expand to a two-car outfit next year after successfully regaining control of its second REC – will continue to have the support of Repair Management Australia as its title sponsor for Percat’s car.

While Percat’s former seat at Walkinshaw Racing had evaporated, that doesn’t actually mean that the four-car outfit will reduce to three cars. REC holder Charlie Schwerkolt has opted to move his license into the Holden stable – which is headlined by the two factory Holden Racing Team cars of James Courtney and Garth Tander, along with Tim Slade’s SuperCheap Auto Racing entry – after a frustrating year spent running a satellite car with Ford Performance Racing.

Schwerkolt has signed a deal with former Erebus Motorsport driver Lee Holdsworth to be his headline driver for the 2015 season.

Meanwhile, two of this year’s Enduro Cup co-drivers, Tony D’Alberto and Paul Dumbrell, will remain in their current roles with SuperCheap Auto Racing and Red Bull Racing, respectively.

2015 V8 Supercars Championship Driver Line-up (so far):

# Team / Entry (technical partner) Primary Driver
1. Red Bull Racing / Triple 8 Race Engineering Holden Jamie Whincup
2. Holden Racing Team / Walkinshaw Racing Holden Garth Tander
4. Erebus Motorsport V8 AMG Ashley Walsh
5. Ford Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing Ford Mark Winterbottom
6. Ford Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing Ford Chaz Mostert
7. Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport Nissan Todd Kelly
8. Team BOC / Holden Commodore VF Holden Jason Bright
9. Erebus Motorsport V8 AMG Will Davison
14. Freightliner Racing / Brad Jones Racing Holden Fabian Coulthard
15. Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport Nissan Rick Kelly
17. DJR Team Penske Ford Marcos Ambrose
18. Charlie Schwerkolt Racing (Walkinshaw) Holden Lee Holdsworth
21. Britek Motorsport (Brad Jones Racing) Holden Dale Wood
22. Holden Racing Team / Walkinshaw Racing Holden James Courtney
23. Repair Management / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Holden Nick Percat
33. Volvo Polestar Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo Scott McLaughlin
34. Volvo Polestar Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo David Wall
47. SuperCheap Auto / James Rosenberg Racing (Walkinshaw) Holden Tim Slade
55. The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash Racing (FPR) Ford David Reynolds
97. TEKNO VIP Petfoods / TEKNO Autosports Holden Shane van Gisbergen
99. Nissan Motorsport Nissan James Moffat
111. Super Black Racing (Ford Performance Racing) Ford Andre Heimgartner
888. Red Bull Racing / Triple 8 Race Engineering Holden Craig Lowndes
TBA. Nissan Motorsport Nissan Michael Caruso
TBA. Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Holden TBA

Team Changes:

  • Teams competing with the Ford Falcon will update to the new FG X model, though a parts shortage is expected to result in some cars starting the season in the previous FG configuration.
  • Charlie Schwerkolt Racing will switch from racing a customer Ford Performance Racing Falcon to a customer Holden Racing Team Commodore.
  • Dick Johnson Racing will be rebranded as DJR Team Penske, after Team Penske purchased a 51% stake in the team. The team will scale back to run a single car.
  • James Rosenberg Racing returned its Racing Entitlement Contract (REC) to the series’ management.
  • Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport will expand to two cars after regaining control of its second REC, which had been returned to the series’ management at the start of 2014. The team had previously run two cars in 2013 before scaling back to run a single car in 2014.
  • Super Black Racing will enter the series full-time as a customer and technical partner of Ford Performance Racing with a REC leased from DJR Team Penske.

Driver Changes:

  • 2003 and 2004 V8 Supercar champion Marcos Ambrose will return to the series after racing in NASCAR from 2006 until 2014. He will drive for DJR Team Penske. With the team scaling back to run a single car for Ambrose, Scott Pye was left without a drive.
  • Lee Holdsworth will move from Erebus Motorsport to Charlie Schwerkolt Racing, replacing Jack Perkins. Holdsworth’s place at Erebus Motorsport will be taken by Ashley Walsh.
  • Nick Percat will move from James Rosenberg Racing to Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport following Russell Ingall’s retirement from full-time driving.
  • David Wall will move from Dick Johnson Racing to Garry Rogers Motorsport to replace Robert Dahlgren.

Image via V8 Supercars

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.