In his own words, no one loves Supercars more than its record-leading driver Jamie Whincup.
However, despite the furore over his inflammatory comments made at the ITM Auckland SperSprint, Whincup was adamant he “won’t change anything” about how he operates despite facing a possible race ban.
Whincup’s heated comments came after he was penalised for passing the Safety Car in Sunday’s Race 24 when he believed he was being incorrectly held behind it, before slumping to a 16th-place finish.
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He blasted race officials after the race, who defended their role in the drama. Whincup’s Triple Eight team led calls for an investigation into the incident, and Whincup — who was issued a ‘please explain’ letter from Australian governing body the Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) — put out a remorseful statement of his own.
Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters was also issued a letter from CAMS after labelling the result “embarrassing”, while CAMS CEO Eugene Arocca took aim at Whincup’s rant as “disgraceful”.
Whincup and Waters may have to face a tribunal, with possible punishments ranging between fines and race bans.
On Thursday, Arocca said he is still waiting for Whincup’s “formal response” which is due Friday. Should the seven-time champion fail to do so, the CAMS chief said he would have “no hesitation” in sending Whincup to a tribunal.
“The comments he made have ranged, from what people have said to me, from disrespectful to disgraceful,” Arocca said.
“He’s accused [officials] of cruising, of not having their brains in gear, and getting on the piss.
“I’m struggling to find a more offensive comment about an official at a high-level sport ever, other than cheating. This is just one step down.
“To be brutally blunt, there are lawyers who were stewards at that event, and they would be within their rights to consider separate legal action. Because they’ve been defamed.
“To come out on national television and go whack … in a way, when you talk about people not being professional, getting on the red wine, not having their brain in gear, you’re really attacking their integrity.”
Speaking at Fox Sports’ Bathurst launch on Wednesday, Whincup explained his motivation for competing at the highest level.
“Curveballs happen in our sport left, right and centre,” the 36-year-old said.
“It’s no different to running a successful business. If you just go by the rule book and run it textbook and don’t take any risks, you don’t get anywhere.
“My job as a driver is to absolutely find a way to win … find a way to be better than your opposition.
“It’s not just about black and white, it’s looking for opportunities everywhere we can … a different line on the track, a different strategy, slowing up, going fast, doing whatever you can to try and find a gain.
“I’ve always done that, I don’t want to take that out of my competition. I want to still be adaptable and change it up.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work in your favour, you pass the Safety Car when you probably shouldn’t have, but I’m not going to change anything.
“It’s worked well for me in the past and whatever happens, happens.”
However, Whincup did reiterate the TV broadcast was the wrong “forum” to make the comments he said he doesn’t regret.
“The one thing I do regret is passing the Safety Car. For kids watching on, that’s not how you go about sport,” he said.
“If the ref blows the whistle, it doesn’t matter if you agree with the decision or not, everyone stops play and you reassess and go from there.
“I didn’t accept the decision or what the ref was saying, so that’s not a good look for kids watching on what sport’s all about.
“Everyone makes mistakes … but I made a mistake on TV and everyone wants to talk about it.
“I’ll work with CAMS to try and be more productive and to help them absolutely wherever I can.
“No one loves the sport and has respect for the sport more than I do.”