POLL: Who should replace Whincup?
Monday 8th February, 2021 - 3:00pm
With Jamie Whincup retiring at the end of 2021, in this week’s Pirtek Poll we ask who you think should replace the seven-time champion.
In alphabetical order, here’s a list of options – some more likely than others – that could replace the four-time Bathurst 1000 winner.
The one-time Bathurst 1000 starter may seem an unlikely fit for the second seat at Triple Eight, but the Kiwi has some strong links to Australia.
Bamber raced alongside Shane van Gisbergen in the 2018 edition of the Bathurst 1000, the pair finishing fifth, and has recently set-up shop on the Gold Coast.
With domestic interests in Australia via Earl Bamber Motorsport, the 30-year-old could conceivably dovetail his business exploits with a full-time Supercars drive at Triple Eight.
Matt Campbell has twice started the Bathurst 1000, his first coming in 2016 with the then known Kelly Racing and his second with Triple Eight in 2017.
Campbell’s most recent drive in the Supercars Championship saw him earn third on the streets of the Gold Coast.
Even if the 25-year-old wanted to race for Triple Eight, Campbell is firmly in the grasp of Porsche as one of its best GT3 drivers.
Anton De Pasquale
On face value, a move to Triple Eight by De Pasquale might seem unlikely given his recent signing to Dick Johnson Racing—but don’t rule it out.
De Pasquale drove for the Banyo-based team in last year’s Bathurst 12 Hour, but was unable to show his ability in a GT3 car after Sam Shahin’s monumental crash in practice.
Amid rumours of Whincup’s impending retirement in early 2020, Dane downplayed the significance of De Pasquale’s GT3 drive and the possibility of a future tie-up.
If the reveal of Feeney’s Super2 Series livery is anything to go by – sporting the famed #888 and Red Bull colours – then the 18-year-old could conceivably be seen as the heir to the throne.
Feeney won the Super3 Series in 2019 and was a top five contender in a shortened Super2 Series with Tickford Racing.
A showdown with Triple Eight team-mate Angelo Mouzouris could be on the cards.
At 25, Heimgartner has five full Supercars seasons under his belt and has shown glimpses of what he’s capable of when a weekend comes together.
The last time Triple Eight hired a full-timer was van Gisbergen, who joined the team at 26.
This year Kostecki will go full-time with Erebus Motorsport, but a strong showing in 2021 could pave the way to an open door at Triple Eight.
Like De Pasquale and Feeney, Kostecki is among the Paul Morris fold who is closely tied to team boss Roland Dane.
Although an unlikely option, a Michael Schumacher-style shock return to full-time driving for Lowndes would no doubt be popular with fans.
Even in retirement, the seven-time Bathurst 1000 winner has shown he’s not lost any speed, winning the Gold Coast 600 opener and the Sandown 500.
Lowndes was on course for a strong finish in last year’s Bathurst 1000, until Whincup crashed.
Mostert is among the established names of the championship yet to claim a Supercars crown.
After winning the Bathurst 1000 in his second attempt in 2014 and claiming numerous wins since then, the 28-year-old is widely regarded as being a capable contender.
Follow his Australian Formula Ford Championship win in 2019, Mouzouris joined Triple Eight to contest the Super2 Series.
In a shortened campaign, the up-and-comer claimed a season-best fifth at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Could this year’s Super2 Series be a face-off for Whincup’s seat?
Another left-field option could be that of Nick Percat, though he is among a list of drivers contracted beyond 2021.
The Brad Jones Racing driver has been a fixture at Brad Jones Racing since 2017 and is committed to the team until 2022.
Percat’s most recent season was his best to date, finishing seventh in the drivers’ championship.
Incumbent Team 18 driver Scott Pye was once under the wing of Dane, competing under the Triple Eight Race Engineering banner in the Super2 Series.
Pye and van Gisbergen, both 31, are close friends off the track and could be a formidable pairing on track.
Although contracted to Tickford Racing for the 2022 season, Thomas Randle has been desperate to make the move into full-time Supercars Championship competition.
Randle’s first Pirtek Enduro Cup campaign in 2019 concluded with a podium at the Sandown 500 alongside Lee Holdsworth.
Last year he claimed the Super2 Series crown, but a full-time drive in the main game has eluded the 24-year-old.
Like Lowndes, Tander has proven that he’s not lost speed in his retirement.
The 43-year-old was unceremoniously forced into retirement at the end of 2018 after Garry Rogers Motorsport opted to field Richie Stanaway and James Golding.
If last year’s Bathurst 1000 win is any benchmark to go by, then Tander should be putting his hand up,
Like Mostert, Waters is another established name on the Supercars grid yet to win the championship.
The Tickford Racing driver flew under the radar in 2020, finishing runner-up to Scott McLaughlin.
Waters has only ever raced full-time for the Ford squad, but could the 26-year-old make the move?
Who do you think should replace Jamie Whincup in 2021? Cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.