Whincup reflects on final race of full-time Supercars career

Jamie Whincup’s #88

Jamie Whincup has admitted reality has begun to set in after completing his final race as a Repco Supercars Championship primary driver.

Unlike Craig Lowndes’ last Bathurst 1000 as a full-timer in 2018, when he and Steven Richards combined for victory, there would no fairytale finish for Whincup yesterday.

After 161 laps where they were always there or thereabouts without truly challenging eventual winners Chaz Mostert/Lee Holdsworth of Walkinshaw Andretti United, the famous Whincup/Lowndes pairing were left to settle for fourth place.

At the start of next year, Whincup will succeed Roland Dane as Triple Eight Race Engineering managing director, with Super2 Series winner Broc Feeney stepping up as Shane van Gisbergen’s new team-mate.

Whincup may yet return as a co-driver at Bathurst, but never again will add to his record seven championships.

“It was only starting to sink in on the last few laps that this would be the last time I’d be in a Supercar as a full-time driver,” said the 38-year-old.

“That heavy-hearted feeling definitely started to settle in.

“We fought hard to get a podium today, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I’m pretty proud of the day and what everyone has achieved over the last few weeks.

“It’s more than acceptable to run fourth. Even though the car was great, no one was touching #25, but my car was as good as the other cars on the podium.

“The young kids were racing hard, and I knew what I had to do to get past them, but I couldn’t fully commit and trust myself to have a red-hot crack and battle for a podium position.

“I didn’t want to race the last 20-laps running the wall every lap and really taking risks, and I didn’t want to take that chance.”

On a weekend where tributes flowed, Whincup won his third Barry Sheene Medal and was inducted into the Supercars Hall of Fame in the lead-up to race start.

“Overall, I’m amazed by the accolades that I’ve received this weekend – it’s really, truly humbling,” he added.

“To win the Barry Sheene Medal, to have the Prime Minister present me with a Hall of Fame, it was so surreal.

“I want to make sure I don’t waste these accolades in any way – I owe this sport so much.

“I just come in to do my job, and this sport, this team has done so much for me. I’ll never be able to repay the debt, but I’ll do what I can to bring on the next generation and give back to the sport which has given so much to me.”

Fourth in the Great Race ensured Whincup finished 2021 as championship runner-up, cementing a Red Bull Ampol Racing one-two.

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]