Triple Eight’s immediate focus with the new Holden ZB Commodore it has developed for Supercars is on refining the package rather than finding more pace, Jamie Whincup says.
The ZB made its racing debut earlier this month and has five wins from six starts, including three for the Red Bull Holden Racing Team with Whincup’s Albert Park victory accompanying Shane van Gisbergen’s Adelaide sweep.
Van Gisbergen leads the championship by 49 points over Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds in another Holden, while Whincup moved from 18th to sixth during the Melbourne weekend and stablemate Craig Lowndes sits 13th in his Autobarn-backed ZB.
After winning the Larry Perkins Trophy and scoring 277 points from a maximum 300 from four races, Whincup insisted “the car’s not 100 percent”.
“We’ve got pace, but there’s plenty going on inside the car, which we want to clean up,” he said.
“There’s still plenty to do. It’s early in the year but we’re all pretty tired from the start but now we need to regroup, refine the car a little bit more.
“I’m not going to put my hand up and say ‘we’ve got heaps of time’. It’s just refinement inside.
“All three of us [Triple Eight drivers] are doing it much harder than we should be.
“Will we go quicker in qualifying? Of course we will over time, it’s more that we’re working hard, we’ve got these few little niggling issues we need to get on top of.”
Whincup spoke about the team’s new-car niggles during the Coates Hire Supercars Melbourne 400 weekend, in which he took a win, finished second twice and third once.
Pressed on those issues, the defending champion declined to go into details, saying “it’s just boring stuff”.
Along with learning the new ZB at a very different venue to the Adelaide street circuit where it made its debut, Whincup indicated he and engineer David Cauchi - who was heavily involved in the car’s design - were aggressive with set-up.
“We could’ve played it safe and come in safe with something we knew,” he added.
“Cauchi’s doing a great job. He’s been around a while, but he’s still quite new and he’s forever trying to shoot outside the square.
“We were well and truly outside our comfort zone and the car was good. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good. It’s all positive stuff.”