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Monday, 12 March 2018 11:24

Fraternising with Foges: Whincup, aiming for eight


Fresh from winning his seventh title in 2017, Supercars king Jamie Whincup opens up like never before about his most dramatic championship triumph and his surprising plans for the future to Mark Fogarty in V8X Supercar Magazine issue #103.

Issue #103 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.

CLICK HERE for more information on issue #103.

In most major sports sustained success is hailed by both followers and the wider public.

The more the super stars and super teams win, the more popular they are. Except in motor racing. For some reason domination in car racing is a turn-off. People will flock to see tennis great Roger Federer or champion mare Winx – just two recent examples of record-setting winners – and celebrate the continuation of their streaks.

They are lauded for their strangleholds on their sports, whereas Michael Schumacher and Ferrari were accused of killing interest in Formula 1 during their peak. Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes AMG have similarly committed the sin of stultifying success since 2014.

In Supercars, Jamie Whincup and Triple Eight Race Engineering have suffered a similar backlash. Their popularity is inverse to their achievements. This curious antipathy towards dominance in motor racing is particularly harsh on Whincup.

Measured by success, he should be the country’s most popular driver. Ever. By far. Seven championships – two more than legends Dick Johnson, Ian Geoghegan and Mark Skaife – and a record 108 race wins means he has legitimate claim to being the greatest Australian touring-car racer of all-time.

And yet, while he is respected, Whincup is neither loved nor revered. He is seen as cold, clinical and arrogant. Just like Skaife. J-Dub just isn’t as fan-friendly or charismatic as Craig Lowndes, Scott McLaughlin or David Reynolds. Which is a shame because behind that sometimes inscrutable mask of dedication, Whincup is engaging, interesting and thoughtful. One on one, he is candid and disarmingly introspective.

There are signs fans are warming to him following his last-gasp title victory in 2017. Scott McLaughlin was quicker and DJR Team Penske had a faster Falcon, but Whincup and Triple Eight never gave up. J-Dub’s triumph in the face of adversity came amid a more relaxed attitude and appearance outside the car, exposing a softer side. Revealing his humanity, if you like.

Whincup, just turned 35, is poised to break more Supercars records in the next few years, which may be the self-imposed limit of his full-time racing career. Or not. He is already planning for the future.

He is the only Supercars star with a dedicated office and assistant for his racing enterprise – Whincup Motor Sport – and has an unrelated business, running a combined car wash and café close to home on the Gold Coast.

As he reveals in this frank exchange, lather and latte are just laying the foundation of his ambition to run his own race team – “Not necessarily in Supercars”, he clarifies – after he retires from full-time driving.

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #103 to read the interview.