Jamie Whincup believes Shell V-Power Racing is changing the game with its dominance of the series that he believes surpassed the performances shown during his glory years at Triple Eight.
The seven-time champion admitted that the Ford team’s 14 wins from 16 races, comprised of Scott McLaughlin’s haul of 12 victories and 11 Armor All Pole Positions and Fabian Coulthard’s pair of wins, is remarkable.
Whincup has largely been the benchmark in the category for the last 11 years with arguably his most dominant years arriving in 2008, 2012, and 2014.
The 36-year-old sealed championships early in 2012 and 2014 while recording 15 wins and seven on the spin on his way to the 2008 crown.
“We are (seeing something remarkable), we’re seeing a team change the game a little bit, and they’ve got every right to do that, they’ve got every right to do what they’re doing,” Whincup told Speedcafe.com.
“It’s not good for the sport with what’s happening, but I don’t think we blame them; I think we just need to grind it out and make it more competitive. I blame myself.
“I never had anything like that (dominance McLaughlin is showing). We had a good car but it was always a grind, always, always a grind; where at the moment he’s not really grinding it at all.
“To have three tenths over everyone all the time, and the only time you don’t is when you’re not really going that hard… I never had anything like that.
“I had some tracks where we had a good game but not a consistent three tenths over everyone all the time, so that’s something I’ve never seen before.”
Such is the pace of the Shell Fords and McLaughlin in particular, Whincup says he and the rest of the pack are really fighting over second and third at the moment in races.
“We’re not worried about #17, no one’s even looking at him at the moment,” he declared.
“He’s in another league; it’s just a battle for second onwards, and even Fabs (Coulthard) is doing a good job.
“Clearly the teams have the best cars at the moment so in some way, me, Davey (Reynolds), SVG (Shane van Gisbergen, team-mate), Chaz (Mostert), we’re all having a bit of a battle for P3.”
Whincup produced an impressive recovery drive on Sunday after missing out on a spot in the Armor All Top 10 Shootout that left him 11th on the grid.
A frantic opening lap that saw him pushed off the road twice resulted in the #88, that had suffered a cracked chassis earlier in the weekend, dropping to 24th before fighting back to a credible fifth at the flag.
“It was good fun. Hey, we’re here to get results, you know what I mean, but what I have learned over the years is that the effort is more important than the result, and (it) proved the effort to get from 24th to fifth,” he added.
“I enjoyed the race, I’ll go home feeling quite satisfied with everything.”