Jamie Whincup says he expects to be as determined as ever to fight for another Supercars Championship after a much needed recharge over the off-season.
The seven-time champion finished third in the title race this season after a hard fought year that ultimately saw team-mate Shane van Gisbergen and Shell V-Power Racing’s Scott McLaughlin duke it out for the title.
Whincup’s season started on the back foot with a retirement at the Adelaide season opener before bouncing back at the Australian Grand Prix and Symmons Plains.
A period of indifferent form where he failed to finish inside the top five in seven consecutive races from Phillip Island in April to Hidden Valley in July proved damaging to his title defence.
Wins at Townsville, The Bend and Sandown breathed life into his championship but a loose wheel while the #1 car was in control at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 proved a damaging blow.
“Yes, 100 percent (I’m determined for next year),” Whincup told Speedcafe.com when asked about next season.
“Talk’s cheap so I’m not going to make any big statements or anything like that but there’s still plenty of fire and no doubt it will be even more after I recharge the batteries and have a few weeks off.”
Away from the track it has been a big year for Whincup who has become a shareholder in Triple Eight having purchased a 15 percent stake in the squad, while revealing ambitions of becoming involved in team management once his driving career is over.
The 35-year-old admits the season has been mentally tough and is in good need of a recharge over the summer.
“It’s another big year and there’s been plenty going on for me on and off the track,” Whincup added.
“The best thing I can do this off-season is recharge the batteries.
“Mentally it’s been as tough a year as any, not from a negative point of view but I’ve been pushing really hard, while I’m still young, to try and maximise opportunities.
“It has been a very tough year, but nothing that a few weeks off won’t fix.”
The multiple champion was among several Triple Eight staff at the venue helping assist MSR in learning the new car.
Whincup is not expected to jump behind the wheel of a Supercar until after February’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour where he will line-up in a Triple Eight run Mercedes-AMG GT3 alongside van Gisbergen and Craig Lowndes.