Six-time V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup is convinced he can turn his season around in the biggest event, this weekend’s Bathurst 1000.
Whincup sits in eighth spot in the championship standings on 1586 points, behind Ford pace-setter and archrival Mark Winterbottom (2215pts).
Yet the four-time Bathurst 1000 champion is the bookmakers’ favourite, with co-driver Paul Dumbrell, for the Great Race at Mt Panorama on Sunday.
Whincup is still burning after last year’s Bathurst race where he ran out of fuel in the 161st and final lap, gifting Ford young gun Chaz Mostert a memorable maiden win.
“We feel like one got away from us last year, the motivation is as high as it has ever been,” Whincup said.
“The reality is you can turn your year around at Bathurst.
“From here on in it’s the start of the run home.
“And Bathurst is our holy grail, the Melbourne Cup of our sport.
“We haven’t had a good year but we can turn it around here with a good result.”
Whincup was repeatedly urged by engineer David Cauchi and team manager Mark Dutton to ease his pace in the dying stages of last year’s Bathurst enduro but like all champions he kept pushing.
It didn’t end well.
Whincup enjoyed an overall Bathurst lead of almost three seconds before his fuel gaffe, eventually limping over the line in fifth.
“I could explain the situation but we don’t have all day,” Whincup said of the fuel drama on Tuesday.
“But we’ve produced the best cars we can produce. Hopefully it’s the best car at Bathurst.”
There was also no love for Whincup at this year’s opening endurance race, the recent Sandown 500.
Whincup and Dumbrell started on pole and led for 86 of the first 100 laps but a puncture turned their race on its ear.
They finished 15th.
Prodrive Racing’s Winterbottom extended his overall championship lead to 198 points over Ford teammate Mostert with his Sandown 500 triumph – his first since 2006.
Prodrive Racing are vying for a third straight Bathurst win.
Yet bookies are still confident Whincup can seal Holden’s 30th Bathurst victory and first since 2012.