Time to clean up

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

IF IT comes down to me over­tak­ing James Court­ney to give Jamie Whin­cup his third con­sec­u­tive V8 Su­per­car cham­pi­onship, I will do ev­ery­thing I pos­si­bly can to get by. But I won’t play dirty, and there are no team or­ders as such.

There has been no dis­cus­sion yet about team or­ders or strate­gies. We’ll have to see where Jamie, James, Frosty and I are po­si­tioned af­ter qual­i­fy­ing on Satur­day be­fore we even think about that.

No doubt we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but there won’t be any or­ders to play dirty.

I’ll do the best I can to help Jamie, but I won’t change my style for this week­end.

I will at­tack James as hard as al­ways, and if he leaves a door open I’ll put my nose up the in­side and have a go.

But I won’t knock him out of the way. I know how gut-wrench­ing that is af­ter hav­ing it done to me at Phillip Is­land in 2006.

You want to win a cham­pi­onship hon­estly and on your own mer­its and not have it handed to you by other peo­ple’s mis­takes.

Jamie is in a po­si­tion where he has noth­ing to lose and will come out fir­ing this week­end.

He’s been do­ing all the usual PR stuff with me this week in the lead-up to the fi­nal at Home­bush, but he’s also been very fo­cused on over­tak­ing James to win the ti­tle.

Jamie was con­fi­dent com­ing out of Sandown where the car was work­ing well for him, but the red flags didn’t help our cause.

The me­dia pres­sure is on both of them, but I think Jamie will han­dle it a bit bet­ter be­cause he’s been here be­fore.

How­ever, in the past two years he’s come into this week­end lead­ing, not chas­ing, so he’ll have a dif­fer­ent mind­set this time.

I think the weather will play a big part in the two 250km races. It’s been rain­ing heav­ily all week and is ex­pected to con­tinue up to and maybe into the week­end.

Rain al­ways mixes things up. The wet con­di­tions will mean a lot more strat­egy over the week­end with de­ci­sions on wet tyres and slicks.

We know what the track is like in the dry, but we have no idea of its grip and char­ac­ter­is­tics in the wet.

For one thing, pit lane is down­hill and it might be a bit awk­ward pulling up cor­rectly in your pit bay.

The sur­face looks grippy in some sec­tions, but du­bi­ous in other sec­tions where we run across some old bi­tu­men.

I can only speak for my­self, but the idea is to stay off the con­crete walls. That will be dif­fi­cult for Jamie and James, who will be in a heated bat­tle to main­tain track po­si­tion.

Court­ney won the Sun­day race last year and the DJR cars go well in the wet, so he will be con­fi­dent.

But Jamie has also done well in the wet and, though he didn’t have the speed he wanted last year, he’s con­fi­dent about his car speed now.

The team PR ma­chines have been run­ning hot in the lead-up to the fi­nal.

One thing Team Voda­fone has done to get a bit of in­ter­est go­ing is launch Aus­tralia’s first V8 fra­grance. It’s called Eau De En­gine, but it should be called Eau De Pit Crew Sweat.

You can’t buy it. It’s just a mar­ket­ing tool to raise some in­ter­est. We’ve made 200 bot­tles of the fra­grance, done video and pho­tos and we’re giv­ing it to me­dia and VIPs. It’s quite disgusting. It makes you smell like a grease mon­key.

I’ve also spent a lot of time sign­ing my book, which has gone into its sec­ond print­ing. I’m not yet pre­pared to write my au­to­bi­og­ra­phy be­cause I still have a lot of years of rac­ing and hope­fully some other ca­reer in motorsport af­ter that, I can now see there might be an­other book or two in me.

I could start with a fol­low-up that in­cludes this year’s en­duro wins at Phillip Is­land and Bathurst or delve back into my early days of rac­ing.

There’s still a lot to be said about my first shift of al­le­giances from Holden to Ford.

Win­ning form: James Court­ney gets back on track at Sandown.

V8 Su­per­car cham­pion

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