Sensational seven: Which Whincup title is best?

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 27/01/2021
  • By James Pavey

Ahead of his 16th season with Triple Eight, Jamie Whincup will be eyeing an unprecedented eighth drivers' championship when the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship commences next month.

The Red Bull Ampol Racing superstar is the winningest driver in Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars history with 122 victories.

He has three times as many wins as active drivers, and he is also the all-time leader when it comes to pole positions (89) and podiums (222).

The veteran's future will be one of the key talking points in 2021, with Whincup to turn 38 next month. He will also have to contend with an engineering change this season.

Age looms as no barrier for Whincup, with Robbie Francevic aged 44 years, eight months and 25 days when he won the 1986 title.

However, Whincup has repeatedly claimed he will call it a day once he truly believes the fire has gone out. With his pace reaching all-time highs in 2020, only he will know when he's had enough.

Whether that happens at the end of this year remains to be seen, with 2021 Whincup's last contracted season with Triple Eight.

The 2021 season was a topsy turvy one for Whincup, who started with a crushing win in Adelaide. He consistently challenged eventual champion Scott McLaughlin, but he faded late and crashed at the Bathurst 1000.

Ironically, Whincup can immediately attempt to avenge his accident when the 2021 season kicks off at next month's Repco Mt Panorama 500. Tickets for the event are on sale now.

"Bathurst didn't go the way we wanted it to but that's racing, you can't win them all," he told Supercars.com last year.

"The only tough thing about having a poor round the last round is you have got to wait so long to race again.

"But I have been doing it long enough to be able to get over that and move onto the next one."

He has finished inside the championship's top five for 14 successive seasons. Seven of those seasons, he was champion.

In 2007, 2010 and 2016, he entered the final round of the season with a mathematical chance to win the title. Had things gone his way, we're talking 10 championships.

Of the seven, which was best?

His maiden crown in 2008 featured 15 wins, his most in a title-winning season. Incredibly, it clinched the title with two races to spare despite the then-25-year-old missing an entire round following a qualifying accident in Hamilton.

Come 2009, with the #1 on the window, Whincup scored 11 wins and became just the eighth driver to win consecutive championships.

Stung by missing out in 2010 to James Courtney, he then became just the second driver to win titles for Ford and Holden with 10 wins from 28 starts in 2011.

The 35-point margin to team-mate Craig Lowndes was his second-smallest margin of victory, behind his narrow 2017 triumph.

Aside from 2008, 2012 marked the only championship-winning season that Whincup also won the Bathurst 1000. That year, he claimed a career season-best 24 podiums from 30 starts.

In 2013 and 2014, Whincup rose to another level. He claimed a career season-high 13 poles in 2013, and backed it up 12 months later with 14 wins.

Such was his dominance in 2014, that he clinched the title at the penultimate round at Phillip Island, eventually winning by a staggering 583 points.

Then, there's the magical seventh, which came when McLaughlin lost the unlosable title.

The 2017 season was Whincup's least prolific season with regards to wins, podiums and poles. But not cracking under pressure when it mattered, when McLaughlin was slapped with three separate penalties in Newcastle, helped Whincup to glory once again.

If you needed any marker of how important the latest championship meant to him, go no further than his wild celebrations.

He screamed joyfully with his team, jumped in a fountain, headed to the Red Bull boat anchored in the Newcastle harbour, downed a beer, and did a backflip into the ocean.

Fast forward three years, and Whincup is closing on 250 round starts and 550 race starts, placing him well and truly into veteran territory.

Threw the criticism, the facts are clear: no driver has held the championship trophy more often in the category's 61-year history. If he's to add title No. 8 in 2021, 13 years after his first, he has some roll call of success to file through.

Jamie Whincup's championship seasons

Year Starts Wins Win % Podiums Poles Points
2008 34 15 44.1% 23 4 3332
2009 26 11 42.3% 15 6 3349
2011 28 10 35.7% 19 9 3168
2012 30 12 40.0% 24 7 3861
2013 36 11 30.6% 21 13 3094
2014 38 14 36.8% 21 10 3364
2017 26 4 15.4% 15 2 3042
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