Motorsport: Hungry Whincup helps SVG launch new-look car

Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup show off the new livery. Photo / Red Bull Racing
Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup show off the new livery. Photo / Red Bull Racing

Six time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup says watching teammate Shane van Gisbergen race to his maiden championship has made him hungrier than ever to reclaim the No.1 crown.

As the new-look Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore was unveiled at Holden headquarters, team boss Roland Dane said he had never seen Whincup looking as fit as he is now during the off-season.

Whincup finished second to Van Gisbergen in the championship last year after winning the last of four consecutive Supercars titles in 2014.

The pair will headline what will now be the only factory-backed Holden team in the series after the manufacturer decided to channel its support to the dominant Triple Eight outfit, stripping the Holden Racing Team branding from its long association with Walkinshaw Racing.

Casting his eye over his new-look wheels, Whincup, who has won more Supercars titles than any driver, said he was ready for the fight to become the series king again.

"I don't see 2016 as a disappointment, we did some unbelievably good stuff, but I'm looking forward to moving a few things around and being a little more strategic in trying to get that No.1 back on the door," Whincup said.

"I probably (want the No.1 back) as much as Roger Federer wants to win a Grand Slam, just as much as any athlete that has had great success in a sport.

"In saying that, I won seven races last year, I won my home event on the Gold Coast, it was a great year, I'm certainly in no dire straits, but I didn't get the ultimate prize.

"I'm not a greedy person, I'm so lucky I've got six at home on my mantle piece, which I'm very proud of - if I can add to that, that's a bonus."

Asked if his teammate winning the championship had made him hungrier, Whincup said: "It only helps, no doubt," he said.

Whincup and Van Gisbergen both loved the new look of the matte-finish Commodore that retains the well-known Red Bull colour scheme, but with more red Holden branding.

After his first Supercars title win, Van Gisbergen wasted little time in turning his attention to his championship defence and expected his fellow Bull to be charging harder at him than most.

"We celebrated pretty hard last year, but now we have to work hard and try and do it because there will be a lot of contenders this year and not only Jamie, but a lot of other teams," the New Zealand racer said.

"It was cool to finally do it, then work started straight away for the next year, work so we've got to defend it this year."

Dane expected both drivers to be pushing each other, adding Whincup was as driven as he had seen to get back on top.

"I have never seen Jamie so fit at this time of year, that's an indicator to me that he is super hungry," Dane said.

As part of their enhanced partnership, Triple Eight will also work with Holden to develop the racing version of the new-generation Commodore that will hit the track in 2018.

"It's a massive thing for Holden and for us to be given the task of working with them on that car ... knowing what a big technical challenge it is, we don't enter into that lightly," Dane said.

"We're all pumped and working flat out on it now ... I think we are going to have a fantastic looking car."

- news.com.au

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