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After introducing the new Bendix Racing Chevrolet Camaro Supercar at the beginning of the year, what better place to have its on-track debut than one of Australia’s most prolific circuits – Mount Panorama. The first round of the 2024 Supercars Championship sent the series to New South Wales for the Thrifty Bathurst 500, setting the stage for the Bendix Racing Camaro’s first outing with Nick Percat taking the reins and Matt Stone Racing making sure it was prepped and ready to go.

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The Supercars festivities kicked off on the Friday with two practice sessions before the big weekend. Nick Percat showed huge promise, piloting the Bendix Racing Camaro to the second fastest lap of the session with a 2m08.214s best time. Practice 2 would take place later in the day with Nick remaining firmly in the top ten, placing fifth on the timesheet with a best time of 2m09.353s to round out the session. Nick Percat had the following to say to round out Friday’s action.

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Nick Percat: "Obviously a great start with a new team and a new car. Practice 1 we were P2 and the car rolled out the truck seriously good — haven’t actually touched it set up wise, it was just more about driving it and enjoying it. Practice 2 there were mixed conditions and we ended up P5; it went between wet and dry and we hovered there in the top 6 the whole session depending on when you did your laps. Overall a pretty good day, really smooth and the car run faultlessly. There’s probably a bit more in me getting used to the different car to last year.”

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Saturday would start with Race 1’s Qualifying session which saw Nick initially miss out on a spot in the Top Ten Shootout, qualifying in P11 to start Race 1 that afternoon thanks to a 2m06.626s best lap. However, Nick would later secure a spot in the Top Ten Shootout after a penalty suffered by Walkinshaw Andretti United driver, Ryan Wood. In the shootout, Nick would go on to secure a P8 start on the Race 1 grid. Race 1 would see Nick climb two spots to an impressive P6 finish after 40 laps of the Mountain. Nick had the following to say after the weekend’s first race.

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Nick Percat: We qualified eighth and finished sixth; great strategy by the Bendix Racing crew — to move forward in these races is hard. We went fairly aggressive and went long and had two really quick stints home which was really good fun. When you’ve got grip and a light fuel load, the car feels great and you can throw some big passes on other cars and it all went well. If the last Safety Car didn’t happen I thought Cam could have potentially got fourth and I would have been fifth, but Day 1, we’ll take that. It’s definitely a positive start; it’s probably one of my best first races of the season, so if we back it up tomorrow it will be good to leave here with a really solid haul of points. It makes the first half of the season much easier when you can hit the ground running.”

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Sunday would continue Bendix Racing’s stellar debut weekend with Nick Percat starting the day with a P10 result for Race 2 Qualifying and a secured spot in Sunday’s Top Ten Shootout. Nick would then earn a P9 start on the grid in the Shootout for Race 2 thanks to a 2m07.462s best lap. Race 2 would see Nick cap the weekend off with yet another top ten result after a hard-fought race, crossing Mount Panorama’s finish line in P9 to bookend the Bendix Racing Camaro’s maiden round.

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Nick Percat: “What a weekend with the Bendix Racing crew. Amazing first weekend with MSR to be honest, we’re sixth in the championship, two top 10 results, two Top 10 Shootouts; honestly couldn’t have thought it could have gone much better. From my side, amazing just to get miles in this car — it’s much different to what I’m used to in the past with the philosophy and the way the car is set up. Overall, a really positive weekend, a lot of learning from my side. Cannot wait to get to the next round and continue building on the momentum we’ve got as a team. Cam has been super fast as well, so once we have a bit of luck on his side… we would have had two cars in the top 10 today. Can’t wait to get to the next one.”

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With the 2024 Thrifty Bathurst 500 done dusted, we see Nick Percat at 6th on the leaderboard with 186 points to kick off the year. In the team standings, Matt Stone Racing ends the first round in 3rd place on the leaderboard with a total of 213 points.

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The 2024 Supercars Championship continues next month when the series heads to Victoria for the 2024 Melbourne SuperSprint, running from March 21st – 24th.

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