Jamie Whincup says he’ll have to balance winning ambitions and efforts to improve his performance package with a view to 2021 at this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Whincup will once again be joined at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team by Craig Lowndes, seven-time winner of the Great Race.
After a year of “experimenting”, the 37-year-old said the team is keen to improve it’s Holden ZB Commodore to come back stronger next year.
“We’d like to think we’d put in our best performance come the biggest race of the year,” said Whincup.
“But then again, we need to put some big effort into changing a few things up into making sure we’re strong come 2021.
“We pushed hard to try to improve the car’s pace as the year’s gone on,” Whincup said of his and the team’s 2020 progress.
“We made some gains and we made some losses as well. We certainly weren’t in a position where we were going to run around in second, we did everything we could.
“That showed in a couple of poor results while we were experimenting with things.
“Yeah, there’s not much more I can really explain. We gave it all we had and it wasn’t good enough.”
In what has been a season truncated and disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the seven-time champion said he “enjoyed this season” despite the hurdles.
In the end, Whincup believes McLaughlin was able to cope best with the COVID-19 challenges.
“Sport is about the variabilities and curveballs that get thrown at you, and it’s about who deals with those curveballs the best and adapts to the conditions,” said Whincup.
“From a sporting point of view, this year’s been great. We haven’t known what tracks we’re going to, the formats have changed, it’s just been absolutely turned on its head.
“I always said, whoever wins the championship is certainly going to deserve it one way or another.
“Scotty and his crew have been the cream for a couple of years and they’ve shown this year that with all the variabilities, they’ve come out on top. Which is what it should be.
“Whoever worked the hardest and brought the best car to the track and did a good job at the track as well should get the biggest prize of the year.
“That’s gone, but for us, there’s still the second biggest trophy. It’s not quite as big as the championship trophy but it’s still a bloody good one, Bathurst, it’s all up for grabs in a few weeks’ time.”
The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 will take place on October 15-18