Jamie Whincup can be revealed as one of the five “Commission” men that have saved Supercars from ruin by rescuing the V8 season.
Far more than just the sport’s greatest-ever driver, as if that was not enough, Whincup has secretly been spending up to 20 hours a week working with the Supercars Commission to steer the sport through the coronavirus wreckage.
Plunged into the biggest crisis since V8 Supercars was established in 1999, Whincup has made it his mission to not only win an unprecedented eighth crown by beating Scott McLaughlin but to also ensure his sport survives COVID-19.
“It is a crazy time,” Whincup said.
“We are just trying to keep the sport alive during a time when it is massively interrupted and affected. It has been the toughest time in sporting history. We will see a lot of sports not survive during this COVID period and I feel the work we have done as a group will ensure we not only survive but have a strong future. That is my whole purpose at the moment and what I am about.”
Working alongside fellow Commission members Ryan Story, Rod Nash, Tim Edward and Brad Jones, Whincup has sacrificed up to half of his working week to plot and plan the sport’s future.
Whincup became the first driver to take a seat in the Commission when he was elected in 2019.
“Some weeks are huge and a big week is over 20 hours,” Whincup said.
“It is a non-paid gig and I have dedicated my time to make the sport better. My role is to represent the teams and I am proud to do that on their behalf. A big week is 20 hours plus and the is a big investment as a race car driver and time away from the car. But I am really proud of that because I am contributing to the sport. Everything I am doing is for the greater good of the sport and the is zero personal gain.”
Whincup admits the last six months of his life have been among the most challenging with the sport put on pause after the Australian GP.
The series only resumed in August following months of complex negotiations with several bodies, most notably all the state governments that host V8 events.
“It is massively time consuming because the goalposts keep on moving,” Whincup said.
“You get told that one thing is happening and then something changes. We keep on being forced to change direction.
“We are stepping forward, then back, then to the side. We have spent so much time this year just rearranging our plan. Normally I’d be spending all that time just trying to make my car go fast, but there has been a lot of planning and not much racing.
“But at the end of the day all that work is worth it because we are still getting the opportunity to race. I feel like I am going to my first concert every time I rock up to the track because it is something that can no longer be taken for granted.
“I cherish every moment I get to spend in the car.”
Whincup was quick to point out he was not the only person working hard.
“There have been some big sacrifices that have been made especially by the Melbourne guys who were forced to abandon the state,” Whincup said.
“Everyone is doing something. Everyone is doing all they can.”
We all know about Whincup’s wins and records, but nothing about his victories in the V8 board room.
“I have done some things I am proud of but they don’t like us talking about it too much,” Whincup said.
“We keep it all pretty quiet and all Commission communications go to a central place. In some ways I don’t think there is enough talk because there is so much good that should be shared. I am part of a group and we all work towards a common goal which is to make the sport better. We all work together.”
Whincup, also a 15 per cent owner of Red Bull Holden Racing, will finally be using his laptop to analyse race date this weekend when he hits the track to contest the Darwin Triple Crown, beginning at Hidden Valley raceway from Saturday.