Abu Dhabi: Team Vodafone’s Jamie Whincup is hoping his three-race sweep in round 13 of the 15 stage V8 Supercar series at Yas Marina this weekend will open up greater opportunities.
Defending champion Whincup now leads the series on 3360 points, 296 points clear of his nearest rival Mark Winterbottom of Orccon Steel, after thrice coming from second on the grid to deny pole starter Will Davison in Abu Dhabi.
It’s his sixth win in seven races at Yas Marina over the past two years and puts him well on course to his fourth series win in 10 years of racing with V8 Supercars, having first won it in 2008. But with the Australian touring car category supporting an F1 Grand Prix for the first time, it’s the importance of where Whincup has re-asserted his dominance this weekend, and not necessarily how.
That said, Whincup remained coy about his ambitions, despite the fact he’s a driver who has just put himself in racing’s shop window on a weekend when motorsport’s elite are outside looking in.
Asked if his exposure at Yas had helped raise his profile, Whincup told Gulf News: “I think so, for sure it’s a big crowd and there’s a lot of worldwide media around so yes. Hopefully it leads to something good.
“I’m contracted to Team Vodafone for the next year then I’m not sure after that. I’d like to dip my toe in the water with some international stuff on the side,” he added.
“I’m racing the Race of Champions in Bangkok in mid-December with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel so I’m really looking forward to that and from there hopefully opportunities arrive in the next 12 months where I can do one-off races.”
Asked of his ultimate ambition, Whincup added: “I’m all eggs in one basket and never plan past the next week so whatever comes up comes up. Since I started karting, I’ve never had a long term goal I just make the most of opportunities when they arrive.”
Of V8 Supercars’ continued spread outside the Australian market, with rounds previously added in China, Bahrain and New Zealand, Whincup said: “It’s important for every business to grow. The bigger it can get, the better for everyone involved so that’s pretty standard.
“Our whole aim is we’ve got such a great series in Australia but we want to go as international as possible. There’s no better track and venue than Abu Dhabi to help us do that and we definitely hope to be back next year and the years to come.
Whincup added: “We’re just happy to here. It’s fantastic we can partner up with the F1 for such an awesome event. We all had a great time. We love the Middle East and it’s extra special for me to win all three races. Hopefully, the F1 guys are happy to have us and we can come back next year bigger and better.”