JAMIE Whincup has declared his bid to win a record-extending eighth Supercar’s championship is alive with the V8 immortal claiming he can still chase down DJR Team Penske man-of-the-moment Scott McLaughlin.
As he prepares to strap down for his 450th championship race — the milestone to be racked up at the Darwin Triple Crown this weekend — Whincup warned his rivals against writing him off in a defiant response to a recent run of V8 outs.
The Red Bull Holden Racing star slumped to his second worst race finish of the year last round in Winton and is sitting 5th on the championship ladder, 364 points behind leader McLaughlin.
“I don’t think you should write me off,’’ Whincup said.
“It’s a third of the way through the year. There is still a lot of water to run under the bridge. “We have led the championship this year. We are a fair way behind right now, because of a great run from car No.17 (McLaughlin) but if anyone can get on a good run and score some points (it is us).
“There is a long way to go and we will put our head down and do the best that we can.’’
Whincup, 35, is adamant he is no fading force — and few will argue after the Holden hero stormed his way home last year to steal the championship from McLaughlin in a last ditch grab at the season ending Newcastle 500.
“Thirty five and over the hill?’’ Whincup said. “No. I have still got plenty left in me, in life and in general. I am certainly enjoying it as much as I ever have and I am as competitive as I have ever been.’’
But Whincup did suggest the finish line was in sight with the 110 times race winner claiming he was not planning on racing beyond 40.
“When it comes to motorsport I certainly don’t want to go past my used by date,’’ Whincup said.
“My days are numbered but I still feel like I am at my peak. I want to make sure I go out at my peak also. I will keep my head down. I am not sure how many years I have got left but I will not be a Craig Lowndes and go until I am 40. I will keep my head down but as I said I will not go past my used-by date.’’
Whincup will rack up another milestone this weekend when he grids up for his 450th race start. “I am sure all those number will mean something to me but right now it is just a number and I am trying to add to those stats,’’ Whincup said.
“I am still in the heat of the battle.’’
Whincup will be out to strike back after he finished 17th and eighth in Winton to fall further behind Ford flyer McLaughlin.
“Everyone involved in Darwin does a fantastic job,’’ Whincup said.
“The facility is picture perfect and it is one of the enjoyable events that we do on the calendar.
Trying to keep the tyres alive in the heat will be a challenge but it is certainly enjoyable.’’
The Darwin Triple Crown begins with practice on Friday.