Whincup recalls great career moments

  • 06/04/2015
  • By V8 Supercars
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

If you go back through the past decade in V8 Supercars, many of the great victories were achieved by all-time Champion Jamie Whincup.

The Red Bull racer won his record-breaking sixth Championship last year, and in Tasmania became the driver with the second highest number of wins in V8 Supercars/Australian Touring Car Championship history.

His teammate Craig Lowndes sits on 99, and while he is likely to crack the century soon, Whincup is not far behind him - not a bad feat after 11 seasons in the category, compared to Lowndes' 18 (though the number of races in a year has changed).

After just two events, Whincup is again in the Championship lead, which begs the question - is he on his way to his seventh title?

While the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 wins often played on the highlights reel, v8supercars.com.au asked Whincup which other moments stand out in his career. He delved into the memory banks and explained some of his favourite races.

"I'm not sure what order to put these in," Whincup said.

"Debuting the new car in Abu Dhabi in 2010 - we moved from Ford to Holden and went out and won both races at the first round - that was a huge moment," he said.

It was a brand new car, brand new circuit and Whincup didn't falter, victoriousin both races, with teammate Craig Lowndes also on the podium in the first.

Another special moment for Whincup had a recurring feature.

"Probably right up there with the biggest was when we debuted another new car - Sandown 2013.

"Now, there were a few issues... I wasn't completely happy with my current car and it was a big call for the team to invest $300,000 into a new car and put a brand new car on the track.

"So to be part of that, and then everyone burning the midnight oil to get the car prepared - then we took it to the track, got a drive through penalty, dropped to about last then came through to win the race, that's up there with one of the best motorsport stories I've ever been involved in, so that's a huge highlight."

For Whincup, those two were the standouts - though he mentioned last year's Gold Coast 600 as significant at the time, as well as Adelaide 2012 and Bathurst 2006, which are often talked about.

"Lowndesy was all in tears and didn't think he was going to be able to drive the car, but he got in and did an unbelievable job, so that was an awesome story," he said of the '06 victory, which was his first Bathurst win.

"2012 Bathurst was big, winning the 50th anniversary," he added.

Speaking of the event also reminded Whincup of the time he shared with someone special - Jason Richards, when the pair came home second in 2005, which Whincup believes basically turned his career.

"I did the second last stint, chasing down Todd Kelly and we pitted - I would've liked to have passed him, or would've liked to have had a go at passing him, but we pitted as I got onto his back bumper, and then gave Jason Richards the lead of the race.

"After the last stop he was leading the race. Didn't quite have the horsepower of the HRT car, couldn't quite keep them behind us, but that was certainly a memorable day and a big influence on our career.

"And with the circumstances after with Jason passing away ... looking back it's bigger than what it was at the time. But ultimately that got me my drive at Triple Eight."

Whincup's first Championship in 2008 wasn't without its difficulties either - the fact that he overcame a disastrous weekend at Hamilton on his way to the break-through.

"I crashed in qualifying in New Zealand and wrote a car off we didn't even make the race meeting so we literally missed a race meeting and dropped a heap of points so to be able to come back from that was pretty special.

"You don't realise how much you love the sport and you love competing when your car is in bits in the garage and you can't get out there," he said.

Having taken the Championship lead for 2015 - though, of course, it's still very early days - Whincup will be looking to push forward at the next event in Perth.

He wasn't expecting the win on Sunday in Tasmania - and was disappointed not to see Lowndes take the 100 - but was thrilled to take the victory.

"It's a huge shame not to see Lowndesy get the hat-trick and his 100 race wins, so hopefully that's not far around the corner," he said.

"It's still early days, we're not really thinking about the championship at this point, but it's nice to be at the pointy end."

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