Jamie Whincup has labelled the season that netted him a fourth V8 Supercars Championship title as the most intense of his career.
Whincup and his TeamVodafone crew found themselves on the back foot early in the campaign as Ford Performance Racing through down a determined challenge – the factory Ford squad winning seven consecutive races in the April-May period.
A mid-season turnaround eventually saw Whincup able to wrap up the title with an event to spare, the first time such a feat had been achieved in 10 years.
The team added icing to its cake this weekend at the Sydney Telstra 500 as Craig Lowndes overtook Mark Winterbottom for second in the standings.
“It’s been a long year for us, it’s been an intense battle, but on the track it’s been a lot and lot of fun,” said Whincup, who took his fourth Bathurst 1000 crown in October.
“There’s been a lot of burning the midnight oil back at the workshop trying to repeat what we did last year in terms of a one-two.
“I remember thinking about it in the middle of January, how we were going to manage to do that a second time, but we’ve been able to do it
“You can’t really explain it but I cringe over the comments of it being boring that Triple Eight and FPR have won every race,” he added.
“If you know what’s going on behind the scenes and on the track, it’s really, really intense.
“What we’re doing is refining these cars year after year and we’re absolutely at the end dragging the last hundredth of a percent out of them.
“When it’s that close and you get a win by a few tenths or a pole by a few hundredths it’s very, very cool.”
Whincup will be shooting for his fifth championship next season – an achievement that would equal the all-time record currently held jointly by Pete Geoghegan, Dick Johnson and Mark Skaife.
“I was happy with one championship and somehow I’m sitting here with four,” he said of next year.
“I’m not a greedy person, but we’ll come out next year and roll on and have a bit of fun.
“But right at the moment I’m quite relieved that we’re finally done.”