Rested and rarin’ to go
V8 Supercar champion JAMIE WHINCUP previews this weekend’s Clipsal 500
BATHURST might have more prestige, but Adelaide is the biggest V8 event of the year. Last year I came away with the round victory and it was just about the best racing of my life.
We were leading, then had mechanical issues and dropped back through the field, only to fight our way back through the pack and hit the lead near the end.
It was like a Rocky 4 movie — something you dream of. And for it to happen in front of such a big crowd was the icing on the cake.
But I really don’t feel any extra pressure or expectation being last year’s round winner and the current champion because this year we start with a clean sheet.
We have major rule changes and a new race car, so what happened last year is irrelevant.
It’s certainly important to get the year off to a good start because it really sets the tone for the season and creates momentum.
After two days of testing last week at Queensland Raceway we have a lot of things sorted, but we’re still not 100 per cent sure if we have the pace.
However, all the elements that gave us pace last year are still there. It’s mainly a matter of finetuning the aero kit.
About six cars last year could have won in Adelaide. I reckon there are about 12 that could win here this year.
The competition is so much tougher and closer.
Another major unknown is fuel. This year we are running on 85 per cent ethanol, which burns at a faster rate than the 10 per cent ethanol blend we ran last year.
That means it may come down to who goes into the pits at the right time because there is no compulsory pit window.
We know how many laps the car will do on a tank so it will be a matter of getting to that lap and then filling up and going to the end.
The use of E85 fuel is designed to make the racing better and more interesting and I think it will.
But it is also designed to show that we as a sport are concerned about the environment.
It may burn faster, but it also burns so much cleaner.
I looked at the exhaust after our big test days at Queensland Raceway last week and it was so much cleaner.
It wasn’t covered in near as much soot as it used to be.
I think we will demonstrate to the public that ethanol is a good, clean fuel that you should use in your road car.
It’s good for the environment and healthy for your engine.
But right now I can’t wait to get out there. It’s been three months since I last raced and I’ve only had two test days in the meantime.
Bring on race day.
Jamie Whincup celebrates winning in Adelaide last year.