QUESTION: Disappointing would be one way to describe your announcement today that you’re not going to next week’s Race of Champions …
JAMIE WHINCUP: Yeah, for sure. There was an opportunity to do Race of Champions, but as I said at the time, my priorities were V8s. That has always been my utmost priority, but if I could do one-off events, I will.
Unfortunately, the V8 thing hasn’t been going to plan of late, and that’s me personally thinking this, so I’ve decided to pull the pin on Race of Champions and concentrate fully on the remaining three rounds of the V8 Championship.
Were you copping any heat from the TeamVodafone heirarcy about ROC?
No, not at all. It’s a decision I made on my own.
The team had an opinion, but this is a call that I made. I had most of my family telling me that I should go and do it and that it would make me strong, but I’ve made the decision not to go.
It’s been a couple of tough rounds for you in the championship. Well, you still finished second at Phillip Island and fifth at Bathurst, but it’s not really the results you’ve been used to in the past 18 months …
That’s right, without doubt. We need to concentrate 100 percent at the job at hand and the Race of Champions would have been a distraction. That’s the decision I had to make.
I just wanted to show TeamVodafone that I’m 100 percent committed to them and that’s the way it goes.
There was some media chat after your Surfers Paradise shocker that the pressure was starting to take its toll on you. Are you feeling the heat?
Nah, I’m feeling confident. No more pressure than I’ve had any other years. It’s going to be a full-on battle. May the best man win.
And how do you reckon Chad Reed will go in your shoes over there?
I’m not really sure. I’m not sure how I was going to go, to be honest.
I’m sure he’ll have a ball. It’s a great event and he’ll have a good time. He’ll get to drive some good cars and get to do all the things that I would have liked to have done. But that’s the way it goes.
All you have to do is wrap up this year’s championship and you can have a go next year …
Yeah, fingers crossed I haven’t shut the door completely and I can get across next year.