Whincup: DJR Team Penske our new top rival

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 01/03/2017
  • By Jamie Whincup - The Daily Telegraph

The battle is set to start once again and this year I am predicting The Red Bull Holden Racing Team Australia will have a new greatest rival.

That new rival will be DJR Team Penske.

I am not going to say it will be a two-horse race this year at all, there will be many teams challenging for the title.

But I am saying there is going to be a massive rivalry between us and DJR Team Penske.

One of the big reasons for that is that Ludo Lacroix, our former technical director, left us last year to join DJR/Team Penske.

He was sent on “gardening leave’’ after the team found out he had done a deal to leave at the end of the year.

He has now moved to DJR Team Penske and I am sure that is going to create a lot of motivation for us to beat them and for them to beat us.

Yep, it is going to create a big rivalry between the two teams.

And I can assure you we will be throwing everything at them to make sure we come out on top.

Personally there is no bad blood from me about Ludo’s move.

But there certainly is some from others in the team. There is certainly some bitterness about what happened.

He left so promptly after so many years and it came as a shock to many.

But part of the anger may be around what he has taken to the other team.

There is no doubt he knows what we are about and what we do inside-out.

But we have a massive belief in ourselves that no one individual is bigger then the team.

You can take an individual out of this team but you can never take away the essence of this team and that is all about being a family.

We are a family and have a huge bond that cannot be broken.

We are the same family and same team this year and no-one can stop that.

We all find that extra bit of whatever is required to win for the person standing beside us and that can never be taken away.

We will always find that one per cent for our family.

Still ... DJR/Team Penske will be strong this year and they will challenge us.

Ludo Lacroix has fitted in quickly at DJR Team Penske Ludo Lacroix has fitted in quickly at DJR Team Penske

Part of that will be because Ludo will have gone across with all the information he has on our team. As I said he knows our operation inside/out and that will certainly help.

They will have very quick cars. There will be no doubt about that.

And they also have a good driving line-up.

They have signed Scott McLaughlin and he is certainly a good driver. He is one of the best out there, and Fabian Coulthard is also a proven race winner.

They will be coming to get us and they have every resource to make it a big challenge for us.

In fact I would say that they are the best resourced team in the sport right now and they have every opportunity to beat us.

But will they?

It will come down to the human element and to the team that is willing to go the extra mile. We hope that will be us.

That is what we pride ourselves on and I am hoping our team culture will help us triumph.

We will let the racing do the talking but there is certainly a big rivalry going on behind the scenes and we are going to give it a red hot crack.

For me personally, my end goal is to win the championship. That is my aim and my job.

My teammate Shane van Gisbergen is the reigning champion, but don’t expect to see a rivalry between us.

We are working together to beat the other guys and we want to be in a position where we can battle each other at the end.

Until then we are dedicated to the team and making sure we are the best team out there.

This weekend’s first event — the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide — is a very important. Momentum can be you friend or your enemy, and it is vital to start the year of well.

We are looking to get of the blocks fast and give the team every opportunity.

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