Rested and rarin’ to go

V8 Su­per­car cham­pion JAMIE WHIN­CUP pre­views this week­end’s Clip­sal 500

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

First up:

Jamie Whin­cup cel­e­brates winning in Ade­laide last year.

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