McLaughlin and Whincup went toe-to-toe in the last decade, with the two drivers sharing eight of the last 10 championships dating back to 2011.
Whincup had already clinched four titles when McLaughlin arrived on the scene as a rookie in 2013, and the latter quickly became a regular challenger to the Triple Eight superstar's mantle.
Notably, a 20-year-old McLaughlin, driving for Garry Rogers Motorsport, defeated Whincup in a stunning duel on the streets of Adelaide in 2014.
In 2017, Whincup defeated a resurgent McLaughlin and DJR Team Penske in a stunning championship fight which culminated in a breathtaking season finale in Newcastle.
Fast forward seven years, and McLaughlin has departed for IndyCar with three Supercars titles and 56 wins under his belt, with a dominant run with the Shell Ford squad helping him climb the record books.
Speaking to the Marshall Pruett Podcast, McLaughlin explained how Whincup helped shape his career.
"I call him the GOAT," McLaughlin said, referring to the 'Greatest of All Time' acronym.
"He's a guy that I was very privileged to race [against] in his prime, at the absolute peak of his career and go toe-to-toe with.
"I sent him a text the other day saying, 'Good luck with everything, you made me a better race car driver'.
"It was cool to have a little bit of banter back and forth between the two of us.
"To have that respect, that's what we've always had between me and Jamie.
"He's a fierce rival, he pushes you to no end but he's very respectful as well. Those are the battles you most enjoy."