Motorsport: Whincup to welcome new car in Sydney

Jamie Whincup during practice ahead of the Townsville 400. Photo / Getty Images
Jamie Whincup during practice ahead of the Townsville 400. Photo / Getty Images

Series leader Jamie Whincup hopes his quest for a seventh Supercars' crown will be bolstered when he unleashes a new car in the next round at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Red Bull Racing is well advanced in its construction of the new chassis for the six-time champion, who is hoping to complete a shakedown of the car in the next two weeks.

Whincup said he'd waited "patiently for six months" for his new wheels after Triple Eight teammates Shane van Gisbergen and Craig Lowndes started the season with new cars.

But the Holden star hoped the new acquisition would provide a timely performance gain - even if only psychologically - ahead of the crucial endurance season, which kicks off at Sandown next month.

"It's always good to get a new car," Whincup said.

"The big question is will it be a performance gain? We would personally like to think that we built the last car as well as we have the new car.

"If there is a performance gain, we will certainly take it. But like any new road car, it's fresh, there is certainly a placebo factor that's it's a new car, it should be faster.

"But a placebo effect is every bit as good as a physical effect when it comes to sport.

"In the past that has seemed to work well for me ... I'm pumped to get in the new car."

After eight rounds, Whincup leads the championship on 1821 points ahead of Red Bull teammate Van Gisbergen (1711) and defending champion Mark Winterbottom (1701).

But in one of the most competitive seasons the series has seen, Whincup said he and the team needed to "step up" in the second half of the year if they were to stay on top.

"Everyone knows there is no prize for leading the championship in the middle of the year," said Whincup, who was fifth in the championship last year after four straight title wins.

"You've got to be there at the end. It's certainly encouraging that we are in contention, we are doing as good a job as anyone else.

"As I've said the last few months, if we don't step up, we will get left behind so it's all focused on making sure we can keep improving and staying right at the front of the park come the Sydney 500 at the end of the year.

"I'm certainly not over-confident, but I feel like I'm as good a chance as anyone this season. I feel like it's up to us. If we maximise our performance, I feel like we'll be in with a good shot come the end of the year."

Whincup acknowledged his biggest threat came from within his own team from Van Gisbergen, who has four race wins this season to Whincup's two.

"He is my biggest rival. We will continue to work together and work hard to try and be in a position where we are in championship contention and then race it out right at the end of the year," Whincup said.

"The relationship is really good. The media are trying to say otherwise. We get on well working together and everything is as strong as it should be and hopefully we can get to the end of the year and be battling it out together."

- news.com.au

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