Jamie Whincup says he doesn’t want to go past his ‘use-by date’ in Supercars. Picture: AAP
Jamie Whincup says he doesn’t want to go past his ‘use-by date’ in Supercars. Picture: AAP

Whincup: I’ll quit if results don’t lift

SUPERCARS legend Jamie Whincup has dropped a retirement bombshell, declaring he will consider hanging up the helmet if he doesn't become a dominant force once again.

Whincup will enter the Gold Coast 600 on Friday sitting fifth in the Supercars Championship standings, a huge 928 points behind runaway leader Scott McLaughlin.

Whincup, 36, is the most successful driver in the category's history, winning a record seven championships and four Bathurst 1000 titles.

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But his dominance has eased over the past two years, with a third-placed finish in 2018 following his most recent championship win in 2017.

 

Whincup has been held to one race win this year in his Red Bull Holden Racing car and hasn't won Bathurst since 2012.

Now a part owner of Brisbane-based Triple Eight Race Engineering, the operation behind RBHR, Whincup has started planning for life after driving.

He is contracted until the end of the 2020 season, however teammate Craig Lowndes pulled the pin on his full-time driving career a year early after slipping back in the pack.

Jamie Whincup finished fourth at this year’s Bathurst 1000. Picture: Getty Images
Jamie Whincup finished fourth at this year’s Bathurst 1000. Picture: Getty Images

Whincup admitted his lack of recent success had become frustrating.

"If I keep missing the podium at Bathurst and running outside the top three in the championship, it (retirement) might be sooner rather than later," he said.

"I'm not sure. My mind will tell me when it's the right time. It's not yet, but I don't know when.

"The last thing I want to do is go past my use-by date and hold up a seat for a young talent that's coming through.

"I'll be a Mick Doohan (former motorcycle world champion) and hang the helmet up earlier rather than too late."

Whincup's lack of race wins this year could be attributed to the dominance of DJR Team Penske's McLaughlin, who has racked up a stunning 18 victories from 25 races.

Whincup's teammate Shane van Gisbergen, who has won three races, is sitting second, 622 points behind McLaughlin, followed by Chaz Mostert and Fabian Coulthard.

Whincup denied his drop in the standings was entirely due to his driving, insisting the team celebrated success and copped failure together.

"The success of any team is a combination of driver, engineer and team," he said.

"The lack of success has to be the same thing. It's a combination of me and the engineering group and the team as a whole as to why we haven't been as successful as we'd like to this year.

"We're looking forward to grinding away and having the fastest cars again."

Practice begins on the streets of Surfers Paradise on Friday afternoon, with 300km endurance races contested on Saturday and Sunday.

Stream the 2019 Vodafone Gold Coast 600. Live & Ad-Break Free During Racing on KAYO SPORTS. Get your 14-day free trial and start streaming instantly >