It was dubbed the “funeral tour” for Craig Lowndes, but Jamie Whincup is adamant he will not be distracted by any sentiment surrounding his impending retirement until the end of the year as he eyes one final Supercars crown.
The driver with more Supercars titles to his name than anyone is focused on going out on a high by adding an eighth V8 championship to his name after announcing he would retire from full-time driving at the end of the year.
Whincup will hang up his helmet and don the headphones in the garage to take over as Triple Eight managing director and team principal.
Jamie Whincup has his eyes on Supercars title No.8.Source:News Corp Australia
Lowndes’ then teammates Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen jokingly referred to the Bathurst king’s final full-time year in the sport as the “funeral tour”, such was the outpouring of grief for the Holden hero among his devoted fans.
But Whincup said he wasn’t going to get swept up in the same sort of emotion.
“I watched Lowndesy go through the last year and he is so much more famous than I ever will be,” Whincup said at the Supercars season launch at Mount Panorama on Wednesday.
“But people were treating him like he was going to die the next year.
“He is still a part of this pit lane as much as he ever was and, hopefully, I can do the same as well with my new role.
“I think I’m going to save all that (sentiment) until the last round. The cool thing is the last round’s at home as well on the Gold Coast.
“I’m not thinking about it, I’m not talking about the R (retirement) word, it’s not factored in at all.
Seven of the Supercars title candidates lining up on the grid in 2021.Source:Getty Images
“I won’t be around forever, as you know, so I’m just trying to do the best I can while I’ve got it.”
Already with a record seven Supercars crowns to his name, Whincup said he was focused on ending his full-time racing career with more history in the sport.
Whincup won the last of his seven championships in 2017.
“Of course, that’s my plan. That’s obviously everybody’s plan (to win the title),” Whincup said.
“It’s going to be a special year one way or another. We’re all excited, this part of the year everyone is pumped and ready to go, everyone just wants to get in the cars and race each other.”
Whincup will kickstart his bid for title number eight at the season-opening Bathurst 500 this weekend – the first of two stops at the iconic Mount Panorama track this year ahead of the traditional 1000km classic in October.
The Red Bull star was a fan of two Bathurst races on the calendar.
Whincup is looking to get the season off to a fast start at Bathurst.Source:Getty Images
“It is slightly weird, but we have been saying for a long time that we believe there’s need for two races here. It’s one of the best circuits in the world, so we can certainly afford to do a sprint race here and, obviously, the 1000,” Whincup said.
“But I think it’s quite fitting to start the year off at one of the best tracks in the country.
“It’s certainly a different mentality doing two 250km (races) rather than a single 1000km dual-driver event.
“Everyone will be reminding themselves of the format and it’s not the 1000, that’s part of the challenge.”
Originally published asForget ‘funeral tour’, Whincup has big plans for finale
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