Seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup says his latest Red Bull Holden Racing Team contract extension could take him to the end of his driving career.
As part of the factory Holden outfit’s launch of its new ZB Commodore on Friday, it was announced that Whincup had reached an agreement with Roland Dane to add another 12 months to his existing deal.
That will take Whincup - who turns 35 next month - through to the end of the 2019 season with the team he joined in '06.
Having expressed doubt earlier in his career that he would be racing at this age, Whincup suggests that could then be followed by retirement.
“You evaluate year on year, just how you’re feeling,” he told Supercars.com.
“I said when I was 28 that I don’t know how I’m going to get past 30.
“But you do get better at dealing with the demands that are associated with racing that are outside of driving the car.
“I feel like I’ve got better at that and therefore I’m about to be 35, and I’m doing a much better job of it, off the track to not fry the brain too much and still enjoy racing.”
Whincup’s long-time team-mate Craig Lowndes becomes the oldest driver in Supercars this year, following the retirement of Jason Bright.
Asked if he saw himself racing at Lowndes’ age - the veteran turns 44 in June - Whincup said: “Right now, I’d say that’s no chance.
“Right now, I’m looking at another one or two years.
“I said when I’m 28 I’m not going to make 30, but [soon to be] 35, I reckon I’m good for another one or two and then do something else.”
Lowndes will be one of eight drivers older than Whincup this season, in which the average age drops significantly with five rookies.
Maiden Mercedes test coming up
Whincup is part of a group of more than 10 Supercars drivers starting their racing seasons before the Adelaide 500, with next month’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
Having won on his GT debut in a Ferrari alongside Lowndes 12 months ago, Whincup will test the Mercedes he’s racing this February for the first time on Monday.
“We’ll do a few laps on Monday to get a feel for the car,” he said.
“It’s good to go racing before Adelaide, that’s a plus for any Supercar driver.
“It’s fun, it’s good experience, the cars are good and it’s good to get some experience outside of Supercars.”