It was a big weekend in Sydney for Jamie ‘JDub’ Whincup, in more ways than one.
Not only did he notch up his 500th Supercars race on Sunday, but he returns to home base with three trophies from three races – not bad!
Like a kid waking up on Christmas morning, JDub explained his excitement to jump back into his #88 Commodore, battling it out against the 23 other Supercars’ drivers on the real racing grid this time.
“Overall, it was a great weekend. It’s so nice to be back racing again,” JDub said.
“It was an eventful start to the first day when the flywheel broke while warming up the car. It was a mad rush to get the car out for the first practice session, but the crew did a great job to change it and had me back out there in no time like nothing had happened.
“We were really fast early in the day during practice but as the day went on the other cars made some really good gains. We were hoping for a better result in qualifying but fifth was the best we could do.”
It was a tough slog for all drivers over the weekend’s races, with differing tyre strategies a major factor in who crossed the finish line first.
“For Saturday’s race, I got a great start, dropped the clutch and the car launched really well on the new Dunlop rear tyres. I had a really good race with Chaz, he was putting big pressure on me at the start of the race but my car seemed to not wear its tyres as much as others and we were able to gap away to have a little breathing space before the pit stop,” JDub said.
“It was interesting to see the different strategies, with both our cars and the winning car electing to use eight of our 20 tyres, but some cars decided to only use six tyres,” JDub said.
Reflecting on his efforts on Sunday, although satisfied with race pace, JDub believes there were missed opportunities that the team could’ve capitalised on.
“The car was excellent for the first race on Sunday, although I’m a little disappointed that we couldn’t do more, but at the end of the day, any weekend when you can get three podiums, you’re bound to come away happy.
“DC (David Cauchi, race engineer) did a great job this weekend constantly chipping away with the setup and making the car faster every time we hit the track. Our efforts this week back at the workshop will be to try and find a little bit more pace out of the car so we can take it to the guys next door.
“While we missed the crowd and supporters this weekend, which we look forward to having back at the track as soon as we can, I really enjoyed the no-messing-around format which took me back to how we used to go racing,” JDub said.