Other side of pit wall: Inside Whincup's test day appearance

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 16/02/2022
  • By James Pavey

Jamie Whincup's transition into team leadership continued on Wednesday as the retired great observed pre-season testing.

The 2022 season will be the first in nearly 20 years without Whincup on the full-time grid.

The seven-time series champion, who recently became a father, retired from racing at the end of last season.

He has been replaced by Broc Feeney, who completed his first laps with Whincup's famous #88 on the window on Wednesday.

Whincup has assumed the Team Principal and Managing Director roles vacated by Roland Dane.

The 39-year-old kept a watching brief in the Queensland Raceway pit lane as his two Red Bull Ampol Racing cars circulated.

Speaking with Supercars.com, Whincup reiterated that his decision to retire from racing remains the right one.

"It's not a weird feeling," Whincup told Supercars.com about being on the sidelines at the test day.

"I'm not standing here thinking, 'Oh my god, what have I done, I want to get in the car'.

"I still feel comfortable with the decision I've made, I feel like it was the right time.

"I'm here as Managing Director, and my mentality is completely different to what it would be on a test day.

"Normally I'm dialled in and trying to make the car faster; now I'm here making sure everyone has the tools they need to perform at their best."

The 124-time race winner, who was inducted into the Supercars Hall of Fame last year, also made waves in the Super2 driver market.

Whincup signed Cameron Hill and Declan Fraser, both of whom turned laps aboard their new-look cars at Queensland Raceway.

With four cars on track and an army of staff working behind the scenes, Whincup has it all to do keeping his team above water.

'There are so many elements you're juggling at once'

However, he believes his near 20 years in Supercars has him geared to do a good job, even if it takes a call with Dane.

"I'm enjoying the challenge; it's difficult, it's not an easy job," the 39-year-old said.

"There are so many elements you're juggling at once. You're not dialled in on one thing or goal.

"A racing team is so diverse. You've got engineering, marketing, health and safety. There's so much going on.

"It's been enjoyable because I don't feel like I'm out of my depth. I feel like I've been around for so long that nothing's a curveball.

"RD [Dane] is never far away and he's a great sounding board."

Part of the adjustment will be watching on as Feeney carries on the legacy of the #88.

Feeney, the Super2 champion, won't turn 20 until October.

However, he has the blessing of Whincup, who affirmed Feeney's sentiment that nailing the creature comforts of the #88 Commodore will fast-track the recruit's progress.

"He's got youthful exuberance, he's pumped and ready to go," Whincup said of Feeney.

"The biggest box we have to tick today is getting him comfortable in the car.

"We know his raw speed's there; if he can feel at one with the #88, then that's a big box ticked."

Whincup will oversee Red Bull Ampol Racing for the first time at the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight.

Tickets for the March 4-6 event are on sale now.

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