SIX-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup is in the middle of one of the most competitive seasons of the sport’s history.
Often there is less than one tenth of a second between first and fifth in qualifying and only 31 points separating the top five in the championship hunt.
Whincup is the ultimate competitor.
He races hard but fair and seems to thrive on high pressure situations.
He has an amazing championship record over the last 10 years with six titles and three second placings.
His ability to be consistent over the year, yet still take risks in passing a competitor to get that one extra spot is a hallmark of the man.
When asked if he is enjoying the closeness of the fight for the 2017 title he said: “So far it has been crazy close, but it’s still early days in the championship.
“It’s crazy competitive and it’s what I love.
“It’s what it’s all about – but we have to grind it out just like we have in the last 10 years.
“I’m sure when I look back on it when my career is over it will be different, but right now when you’re in the middle of it, it’s just very hard work.
“I enjoy it but we work very hard.”
Whincup’s Triple Eight team have been a dominant force for many years now but as he points out, in the long run, it has actually been good for the sport.
“There used to be criticism that the series was too processional and that we were too dominant, but it’s not our job to slow down but was up to the others to step – and that is exactly what’s happened,” he said.
“Other teams have raised the bar, which is exactly what we wanted so now it’s just so close.”
Winton hasn’t been such a happy place for the Red Bull superstar in the last few years.
Last year he came away with a fifth and a 9th.
“We used to be quick here but since the new car came in a few years ago it’s a bit of a bogey track for us,” he said.
“We will just have to come out tomorrow and do the best we can using data from past years here.”