Whincup content with Supercars retirement

Oliver Caffrey and Rick Goodman
·3-min read

Jamie Whincup, the most successful driver in Supercars history, is bullish about ending his full-time racing career with an eighth championship.

The 37-year-old will bring his glittering career to a close at year's end before taking over as Triple Eight Race Engineering's team principal from co-founder Roland Dane.

Whincup, who has won a record-breaking seven championships - two more than the next best driver - says he is almost ready for the next stage of his life.

But first, he is determined to bow out with another title.

"I would have pulled the pin at the end of last year if I didn't think I could get to number eight," Whincup said after Triple Eight's announcement on Wednesday.

"I'm not there to make up the numbers; I'm there to get results and absolutely number eight is achievable."

Whincup says the retirement call has brought about a mix of sadness and excitement.

"There's a little bit of relief as well to finally have announced the plan so we can now just focus on executing," he added.

"I love driving and I'm really looking forward to this year but I'm also looking forward to using my spare time ... in learning this Triple Eight business."

As well as having won the most championships, Whincup also has the most race wins with 122 victories - 12 ahead of Craig Lowndes.

Although Whincup will exit the tour full-time, he has left the door open to continue as a co-driver in enduro events, including the Bathurst 1000.

His exit is the latest announcement in a dramatic period of change for the touring car series.

Three-time defending champion Scott McLaughlin has left Australia to race in IndyCar, Team Penske is no longer involved and the iconic Holden brand has been retired.

Commodores will remain on the grid this year, but not in an official capacity, before Supercars' next generation of cars are unleashed in 2022.

Although McLaughlin's departure is a blow for the sport, it gives Whincup an opening to again push for the title.

The pair enjoyed a fierce rivalry, but McLaughlin has dominated in his Ford Mustang since Whincup clinched the 2017 championship in an extraordinary final event of the season in Newcastle.

Although the racing was often fiery, the two built a mutual respect, with McLaughlin constantly referring to Whincup as Supercars' GOAT (greatest of all-time).

Whincup finished fourth in last year's championship, with Triple Eight teammate Shane van Gisbergen and Tickford ace Cameron Waters

He secured four race wins, but endured a tough end to the season and did not finish at Mt Panorama meaning he was unable to add to his four Bathurst 1000 crowns.

Dane said it was always the plan for Whincup to take the reins of Triple Eight team since he expressed an interest years ago.

"I have every confidence that he will approach his new role with exactly the same motivation, diligence and competitive spirit that he brings to the track at every round," Dane said