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The Making of the GOAT

What makes a G.O.A.T?

A dash of talent? A sprinkle of hard work? A dollop of impressing the boss, maybe?

Our very own Jamie ‘JDub’ Whincup has nailed the formula, and with seven titles and 119 wins to his name, it’s a perfect time to sit down and reflect on the champion’s humbling beginnings.

Speaking on Greg Rust’s ‘Rusty’s Garage’ podcast, team owner Roland ‘RD’ Dane reminisced on the champ’s entry into his team, explaining the talent he saw in JDub which he was eager to capitalise on.

“Since the beginning of 2005 we had Craig (Lowndes) on board and that had been a massive part of the transformation of the team. Having him buy into the dream and then having him start winning races with was massive for everyone in the team.

“At that stage, I had to do something to try and put together a crew that would be capable of winning Bathurst. Not everyone used to pair their drivers up in those days, so I wanted somebody who was really good to drive with Craig, but who also would be a young Australasian driver who would appeal to the local market and was a half-generation younger than Craig who also had potential.

“I spoke to about three people on the short list: Frosty (Mark Winterbottom), Davo (Will Davison) and Jamie. To be honest, the one who jumped up hardest, highest and fastest was Jamie,” RD said.

Eager to sign on the young gun, RD joked about the hurdles, albeit small, he had to jump to get JDub on board.

“I think he thought it was a wind up when he got a call from me. He was driving in ’05 for another very good friend of mine, Tim Miles (Triple Eight Race Engineering co-owner) but he was out of a drive at the end of the year.

“He couldn’t get on a plane fast enough and said he didn’t care about the money, or at least said he didn’t care, so I didn’t pay him very much if he didn’t care about it,” joked RD.

“He was ready, willing and able but we had been particularly impressed by his driving in the two enduros both at Sandown and Bathurst with Jason Richards. He’d done exactly what he’d been asked to do at those two races, and we needed somebody who could do that.

“In December that year, we had a test day where Jamie came up and drove the car at Queensland Raceway, and to be honest within 10 laps we were looking at his brake traces saying, ‘this guy’s going to be special’.”

So, what did JDub have to do to get Triple Eight race ready?

“He needed to lose a bit of weight and get fitter, but he was going to be special.”

We can imagine RD was subtle when telling JDub this…

RD’s evaluation of JW’s success thus far is based on one main contributor: hard bloody work.

“Jamie’s success has been built around his work ethic. He’s not a driver that can just get in the car, go flat out then go and do something else – that’s just not Jamie’s methodology.

“I don’t want to take anything away from his natural talent because it’s huge but his success at the top level is because he works hard at it. He wants to know what’s going on, he wants to understand it, he wants to prepare himself properly, he wants to put himself in the right mental frame of mind before he gets in the car.

“His preparation has developed over the years because he’s seen a reward for it and he’s done better as a result of it. He’s worked harder than, I suspect, any other driver in pit lane for the success he’s had, but the success has come because he’s worked so hard,” said RD.

The former kid from Melbourne’s northern suburbs currently sits on 498 Supercars race starts, with the Supercars season postponed until June. The Supercars All Stars Eseries begins on April 8, with drivers racing at Phillip Island and Monza  circuits for race one.

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Whincup recognised as F1 potential

In the absence of racing globally, renowned motorsport journalist Will Buxton has penned a list of 20 drivers from all categories who never quite made it to the highest tier in motorsport: Formula 1.

BUXTON: The Top 20 drivers never to race in F1

Read the full article on the official F1 website below

Scrolling through the list here at Red Bull Holden Racing HQ, we stumbled across a familiar name sitting at #19 – our very own Jamie ‘JDub’ Whincup.

In his own words, Buxton compared JDub to Formula 1’s elite.

“He’s Australian Supercars’ Michael Schumacher with seven championship titles and the most race wins in that championship’s history, so the thought of Whincup in Formula 1 gets the blood pumping,” Buxton wrote.

“Fast, consistent and dependable, Whincup has only finished outside the top-three in the championship once since 2007.

“Even at 37, retirement supposedly looming, he’s winning races and has a contract through 2021.

“The mind boggles at what Whincup, who started in single-seaters, might have achieved in open-wheel racing.”

The seven-time Supercars champ was the only Australian to feature on the list, with drivers such as five-time Indycar champion Scott Dixon, four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, and seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi also mentioned.

So, what do you think of this latest accolade JDub?

“There are plenty of fast dudes that never made F1 so great to make the list,” he said.

Also featured on the list was former Supercars’ driver Simona de Silvestro.

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Here to Stay

Hey Bulls fans! Guess who’s named an unchanged driver line-up for 2021?

Here at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, we’re excited to announce that both our championship-winning drivers Jamie ‘JDub’ Whincup and Shane ‘SVG’ van Gisbergen have penned contract extensions to steer our team through to end-2021.

Yes, we’re all just as excited as you are!

For JDub, the passion for racing in the main game and the burning desire to compete for a record eighth drivers’ title was a resounding factor in the 37-year-old’s decision to stay put.

“My addiction for racing, speed and trying to beat my mates to the finish line started when I was seven years old,” Jamie said while reflecting on his decision.

“Any thought of finishing full-time driving this year doesn’t sit well with me.”

Across his coveted career, JDub has notched a staggering 118 wins and 208 podiums over his 496-race tenure, with his last win claimed at the 2019 Newcastle season finale.

“I feel I have plenty to offer this sport from behind the wheel.

“While my full focus is on this year’s championship and delivering results for our teammates, sponsors and Red Bull Holden fan base, it’s great to know that all the fun will continue well into 2021.

“I thank everyone at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team for the trust in me to showcase your amazing work and commitment in 2021.”

For SVG, there was no second guessing where he wanted to call home for the next two seasons. Having joined the team in 2016, the year he claimed his inaugural Drivers’ Championship, SVG expressed his excitement about what the future holds for the team and the category.

“It’s been an awesome few years with the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, and honestly there wasn’t much thought put into extending my contract for a few more years,” SVG said.

“I absolutely love this place and all the people in it, and the future looks exciting with the changes that look to be put in place.”

Having made his main game debut in 2007, SVG has claimed 36 race wins and 106 podiums, including 3 Adelaide 500 titles.

“I feel Triple Eight are the right team to help me challenge for the Drivers’ Championship again, and obviously with Jamie extending his contract, we’re hopeful we can reclaim the Teams’ Championship.

“It’s always good to have someone like JDub by your side. We get along well together and he’s still as capable of being the fastest driver on the grid.

“It’s amazing to think that his driving is still at his peak level, so I think it’s a fantastic decision for him to keep competing for a few more years.”

Both JDub and SVG will be looking to kick-start their 2020 title challenge at this weekend’s Adelaide 500. Race 1 of the Supercars Championship kicks off Saturday 22 February.

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Whincup secures future with Triple Eight

Triple Eight Race Engineering Media Release
Thursday 25th October 2018

Jamie Whincup has secured his future with Triple Eight Race Engineering, but not behind the wheel. The seven-time Virgin Australia Supercars champion has joined the team’s portfolio of shareholders as a co-owner.

Whincup’s career with Triple Eight began in 2006 and he has since claimed every single one of his 113 championship race wins with the Brisbane-based squad, including four Bathurst 1000 victories.

“The guys and girls at Triple Eight are like family to me and if it’s my choice, I will keep racing with them until I am 80 years old,” he said.

The 35-year-old is the first to admit that he doesn’t want to make up numbers on the Supercars grid or occupy the spot of a deserving young driver and has thus been taking steps to build a career beyond full-time driving for a number of years, with the overarching objective being to build a long-term career in Australian motorsport.

“My motivation to be a team owner has risen from the fact I simply love the concept of motorsport. I want to ensure that I’m still racing well after my driving career.”

The team itself planted its feet firmly in Australia in September 2003 when co-founder and managing director Roland Dane made the move from the British Touring Car Championship with the support of then co-owners Derek Warwick, Ian Harrison and Peter Butterly. Over the years, Dane became the sole team owner, but in 2015 began laying the groundwork for the future of Triple Eight, welcoming new investors into the fold whilst retaining control.

With Dane at the helm, Whincup joins Tim Miles, Paul Dumbrell and Jessica Dane as a minority owner of Triple Eight.

Jamie Whincup of Red Bull Holden Racing Team during the Melbourne Grand Prix, Melbourne, Victoria, March 23, 2018.

“I thank Roland and the management of Triple Eight and the current sponsors for accepting my proposal to be a shareholder and I promise I won’t let you down,” Whincup continued.

Dane confirmed that the sentiment within the team has been overwhelmingly positive: “Jamie has proved over the years that he is a team player and has Triple Eight’s best interests at heart. Just as in racing, it’s vital in business to be planning ahead for every scenario and the boys and girls here at Triple Eight recognise that he potentially has a lot to offer in this respect.

“Jamie and I have been working on a plan for him to come into the business side of the team for a few years, so to see this start to come to fruition now is very satisfying. I’ve no doubt he’ll put every effort into learning as much as he can about the running of Triple Eight to make sure that his contribution is valuable.”

Whincup is currently contracted to drive his Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore until the end of 2019, but has confirmed that he currently sees himself behind the wheel full time for at least another two years.

“While my focus during the next two seasons is to drive the race cars to the absolute best of my ability, I look forward to investing my spare time into learning the Triple Eight and Supercars business,” he said.

“We proudly display the Peter Brock trophy at our headquarters and focus on the fight to retain the drivers’ championship trophy.”

 

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Won and Done: Victory vaults Whincup to Supercar Title

Jamie Whincup came back from the brink to take a seventh Supercars crown in a Newcastle season finale that defied convention – and belief.

Had it. Almost lost it. Perilously close to completely losing it. Probably didn’t have a chance to get it. Got some luck. Got a gift from a teammate. Controlled it. Lost it again. Won the race, lost the title. Won both.

Confused? You’re not alone. For that (and we probably missed a few other plot twists besides) was the background to Jamie Whincup’s record-extending seventh Supercars title on the streets of Newcastle last weekend – and while the record books will show this was a title taken by a proven champion who converted a series lead over a rival who’d never tasted championship success in Scott McLaughlin, anyone who witnessed Sunday’s 26th and final race of a compelling season will know the story was much, much more difficult to digest.

Rewind to Saturday, and Whincup’s quest for seventh heaven looked well and truly shot. Coming into the penultimate race of the year with a slim but handy 30-point lead over Team Penske’s McLaughlin, it wasn’t a disaster that the Kiwi was on pole yet again; from fifth on the grid, the Red Bull Holden Racing Team star could do something from there. What he did was most uncharacteristic; Whincup and Michael Caruso (Nissan) came together on the third corner of the 91-lap journey, leaving J-Dub with his hand up acknowledging his error, broken steering and a damaged right rear to his Commodore, and a lengthy stint in the pits as the RBHRT crew worked frantically just to get him back in the fray. He finished 13 laps down and last, but gained 42 championship points to somewhat mitigate the damage caused by McLaughlin taking his eighth win of the season – and a 78-point series lead on a day Triple Eight team boss Roland Dane called “the worst I can remember” for his team.

Coming into Sunday, the equation for McLaughlin was simple – finish inside the top 11, and a maiden title was his no matter what Whincup did. Yet another pole (his 16th in 26 races) was the perfect place to start, and with Whincup in fifth again, the title appeared to be McLaughlin’s to lose. But after his lap 15 pit stop, McLaughlin was issued a drive-through penalty for speeding in pit lane. Later, as McLaughlin came back through the field, he tagged the Nissan of Simona de Silvestro at Turn 2 and copped a 15-second penalty, which dropped him back to 21st at his final stop on lap 50.

By that stage, Whincup was up to second behind teammate Shane van Gisbergen, and when the race resumed after a safety car, SVG played the perfect team game and let J-Dub through to the lead, meaning McLaughlin needed to claw back to 11th to take the title. With Whincup sailing on serenely up front, McLaughlin chipped away, and assumed 11th on the third-last lap when he passed James Moffat’s GRM entry. But there was another act to this high-speed drama yet to play out.

Jamie Whincup of Red Bull Holden Racing Team wins the 2017 Supercars Championship at the ,  at the , , , November 26, 2017.

The third member of the Triple Eight trio, Craig Lowndes, was storming through the field on fresher tyres in the latter stages, and when McLaughlin ran wide at the first corner on the penultimate lap, Lowndes spied an opportunity to pass down the inside of the uphill run into Turn 2. McLaughlin moved to cover him off, the cars touched, and Lowndes was spat into the fence and into retirement. The Kiwi crossed the line 11th but was issued another time penalty, which dropped him to 18th place. Which meant the race – and the title – were Whincup’s.

For a driver who has done more winning than anyone in Supercars history – Sunday’s victory was the 107th of his glittering career – Whincup seemed genuinely astonished by the turn of events, saying he’d “sort of written myself off” after Saturday’s shocker.

“It was an unbelievable day from where I stand,” Whincup said.

“We just felt robbed yesterday, we felt like we worked so hard and did so much to get ourselves within championship contention but we didn’t feel like we deserved that yesterday. Today, we just thought we had to go out there and do our job, and for things to fall our way.”

Jamie Whincup of Red Bull Holden Racing Team wins the 2017 Supercars Championship at the ,  at the , , , November 26, 2017.

It was Whincup’s first title since 2014 after winning six in seven years from 2008, and was quick to pay tribute to McLaughlin, who won more races than any other driver this year and had more than five times the number of poles.

“Credit to the DJR Team Penske crew, they’ve been tough competition all year,” J-Dub said.

“Scott (McLaughlin) will probably come back and win five or six championships of his own in the future.”

With Whincup’s celebrations in full swing – a dip in the water fountain adjacent to the podium post-race was a mere prelude to a backflip into the harbour – SVG was contemplating a title defence that didn’t go to plan, his own teammate succeeding him as champion, and the disappointment of a mate and compatriot in McLaughlin after finishing in second place.

Jamie Whincup of Red Bull Holden Racing Team wins the 2017 Supercars Championship at the ,  at the , , , November 26, 2017.

“The race was a huge improvement from yesterday,” he said after Saturday’s Race 25 had ended with him in 16th after an incident with Erebus driver David Reynolds saw him cop a 15-second time penalty.

“We had a pretty appalling day yesterday, I’m proud of us for turning that around. I watched that race unfold on the big screens. I let Jamie through and I was torn, Scotty is a good friend but I was just so happy to see everyone’s faces here and how hard we’ve worked this year. We turned our year around pace-wise, it’s been pretty amazing.”

SVG finished fourth overall, 273 points behind Whincup, while Lowndes, who had a pair of non-finishes over the weekend after clouting the Turn 12 wall on Saturday before the McLaughlin incident on Sunday, dropped from sixth to 10th overall for the season.

“It’s been a poor year to be honest … it would have been nice to be on the podium,” Lowndes told supercars.com.

“Yesterday we had a good opportunity and I made a little mistake on the last corner and slid into the wall, and today, obviously everyone knows what happened.”

What happened was a finale to the Supercars season that simply couldn’t have been crazier, more compelling or a more dramatic way to welcome Newcastle to the championship calendar. Adelaide and the 2018 season-opener are four months away, and we might need that long to truly soak in all that the end of 2017 served up. And it’s only right that the main beneficiary of that drama gets the final word.

“Does it get any better than that?” Whincup pondered?

No J-Dub, it doesn’t.

By Matt Clayton for redbull.com