In a small hand-over ceremony at Sandown Raceway, long-time friends and legendary racers Dick Johnson and Larry Perkins, along with rising star Anton De Pasquale, came together for the handing-over of the number that Perkins used since the inception of his team, Perkins Engineering, in 1986.
“When Anton joined the team, I asked him what number he would like to run as Will was going to drive the iconic No. 17,” said Chairman and CEO of Dick Johnson Racing Ryan Story.
“Anton said he’d love to run number 11 because it was such a key part of his success in Europe where he won many races with it. I told him we could only do so with LP’s blessing.
“Number 11 is an iconic number in our sport, and to me it will always be Larry’s number. Despite it not having been used for the past few seasons, I thought it fit and proper for Dick and myself to reach out to his old sparring partner and one-time teammate, and that’s what’s led us to today’s announcement.”
But what made the number so special to Perkins’ that he chose it in the first place?
“When I first registered my car in the Australian Touring Car Championship, I chose 11 because it was just straight digits. It was cheap and easy to print, and I only had to carry spares of one number which made it simple to replace on the car,” laughed Perkins Engineering founder Larry Perkins.
“The number originally didn’t mean anything to me really; it was just a number. But it became a part of history, and I’m very pleased to see it continue in Supercars today.
“Anton is a fantastic young talent, so when Dick and Ryan asked me if he and the team could use the number, I was more than happy for them to continue its legacy.”
Dick Johnson thanked Perkins for allowing Anton and the team to become custodians of his number.
“I’d like to thank Larry for giving his approval. Anton, the team, Ryan and myself are all honoured that he trusts us with his number. I know everyone will do their best to keep it at the front,” said Johnson.
Anton De Pasquale said he was thrilled to be able to continue racing using a number that has brought him much success in the past.
“I raced with No.11 in Europe and won the 2014 Formula Renault Championship with it. Moving overseas to race was the first big move in my racing career and in life, and that’s when I changed to 11.
“Now, moving to Queensland and to the Shell V-Power Racing Team is my second big move, so I’m excited to be running 11 again.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to Larry for entrusting me with his number, and I’ll make sure I do it proud,” said De Pasquale.
De Pasquale’s Shell V-Power Racing Team Ford Mustang GT will be sporting the new number this weekend at the Sandown SuperSprint.