Yeah, I think there’s a lot of interest in that side of it. There’s no doubt that if we can, it’d be great.
We’re contracted to Roland anyway as a co-driver and if he’s involved more in Super2 stuff we’ll see where we fit in with that side of it, but that’s definitely a possibility.
What’s attractive about TV and what sort of role do you expect to be playing in that next year?
That’s a good question, I don’t know what role I’m going to do at the moment.
But the thing that attracts me is still being involved in the sport, just not as a driver.
Still being involved in the whole thing, the technical side of it. I’m not going to be in the board room, but still involved in some way.
Having that interaction with the teams and the drivers and the sport, but just from a different angle.
When you look back at the body of work that’s been your full-time Supercars career, what are you going to be most proud of?
Probably the fact that we never gave up, always gave back to the fans and supporters, which we’ve always been very grateful for.
Just having fun, that’s been the biggest thing.
Even the last couple of years when we haven’t been performing too well, just enjoying the moments of what we are, where we go and what we do.
I’ve really enjoyed the fan interaction and hopefully they’ve been able to enjoy the journey as much as I have.
You’ve had so much success at Bathurst, despite having a 10-year gap between your first and second wins. Any regrets over the career decisions you made in that period?
No, no regrets, because I think we made the best decisions in terms of teams with the information we had at the time.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and looking back, you might have made different choices knowing what we now know.
But at the time we believed it was the right choice and I think any driver that you talk to would say you make the decision the best you can at the time.
I don’t regret it. It was character building, we learnt a lot over that time, those (first) four or five years we were with Ford.
We were in multiple teams and we weren’t really getting what we needed until we found Triple Eight.
There’s not many who have been able to carry the sort of fan support you have across both sides of the Holden/Ford divide…
At the time [while preparing to move to Ford in 2001] I remember sitting down with Peter and Bev Brock and I asked what it’s going to look like.
They said ‘you’re not going to lose anything, because you lose 50 percent of your Holden base that won’t like you because you’re leaving, but then 50 percent of the Ford base will like you because you’ve come across’.
So at the end of the day it works out and even today, it’s still like that.
We still have Ford fans sending me messages or come up and say ‘if it can’t be a Ford we hope it’s you’, and the same thing with Holden fans when I was at Ford.
I’ve been lucky enough to embrace both sides. At the end of the day I’m a racer, I love racing cars and I love cars in general.
I’ve still got my first road car, which is a Ford [Mk1 Cortina], so I still have a bit of both in the garage.
You got so close a few times, but never got the fourth title. Does it niggle at all that you never quite got there?
Oh, there’s been occasions [where I've been close]; 2006 with the incident at Phillip Island [with Rick Kelly], that was one that got away.
We went to Homebush a number of times trying to run Jamie down and unfortunately didn’t make it.
The year we had the tyre blowout in New Zealand chasing Frosty (Mark Winterbottom, 2015), we lost momentum with that.
But at the end of the day you’ve got to stand by the decisions you make at the time. We went to every race weekend and did our best and sometimes it’s not good enough.
I got told early in my career that there’s going to be people out there better and faster than you, you’ve just got to keep pushing and try your best.
I don’t regret not having a fourth championship.
I could look back on each individual one that we finished second and pick out reasons why we didn’t win, that if we could go back and change would make it a different scenario, but it is what it is.
You’ve always given a lot of time to the fans at the track, sometimes in contrast to a Mark Skaife or Whincup; both renowned for being very analytical and locking themselves in long engineering debriefs. Do you feel your approach has cost you any results?
No, I don’t think so. Everyone performs differently in different ways.
Skaife was very analytical, as you said, and did his own thing, looking at data until 10 o’clock at night, no different to Jamie.
I don’t do that because it doesn’t suit my way and the way I like to do things.
I’ve always gone out and seen the crowd, regardless of who my team-mates were. We all do our own thing in different ways and that’s what makes the sport so great.
I’m interested in seeing different athletes at the moment getting away from things to try and reinvigorate themselves, to find what makes them tick.
Most of the time it’s just doing the normal boring stuff that you do year in, year out that makes you work.
Who would you consider as being your greatest rival during your career?
The driver that probably got to me mentally out of anyone was Juan Pablo Montoya (1997 Formula 3000 team-mate).
He was just arrogant and tried to run me off the track multiple times in a race just so I wouldn’t beat him.
Skaife and Jamie; they’ve been the two strongest rivals here in Australia, just because of the way they conduct themselves and the success they’ve had.
Those two guys… I see a lot of Skaife in Jamie, the way Jamie operates.
It’s chalk and cheese from me, they’re very different to how I operate; I’m almost in the middle between Jamie and Shane.
But it’s a process he (Whincup) works at and gives him success, which is great, it works for him.
Is the dynamic you have with Jamie different to what you had with Mark? It was so ferocious with Mark, there was a wall up between the engineers at one point…
Yes, but the difference is now I’m at the other end of my career. Probably dealing with Jamie has been different to how I dealt with Skaife.
Back then you were still fighting for your position, even for the next year, so there was a lot of very strong competition with Skaife.
These days with Jamie, you can definitely enjoy the events, even if you’re not winning or you’re chasing him, you’re still enjoying it.
It’s been a different phase of my career and a different way of approaching it compared to what I did with Skaife.
Finally, Jeff Grech [former HRT manager] has told some great stories this week about your initial testing and debut. It’s so different for the rookies coming in now, isn’t it?
Yes. Jeff was a very big influence on and, basically the reason why, I was with the HRT at the time.
There’s no doubt all the testing we did back then helped me get ready for the start of 1996.
I remember doing a lot of testing with Brock at Eastern Creek, Oran Park, Calder, everywhere, just doing a whole heap of tyre testing.
People don’t understand the amount of testing we did do in the lead-up to 1996 to come out so well prepared.
It’s so different now, as you say. We’ve got Super2 and your testing is on race weekends in the public, not behind the scenes.
But Jeff was tremendous in getting me into the car.
I know at the time when they tried to do it [put me in the car], a lot of the sponsors and people involved in the team weren’t keen on me being in the car at all.
We had to prove that we had the speed and could do it. Jeff was very instrumental in that side and I’ll always be grateful for that.