Supercars champ Jamie Whincup to retire in 2021

Seven-time Supercars champ and four-time Bathurst winner will take over the reins of Triple Eight Racing from Roland Dane in 2022

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Jamie Whincup will hang up his helmet at the end of the 2021 Supercars season and grab the steering wheel of the powerhouse Triple Eight team instead.

The seven-time Supercars champion and four-time Bathurst 1000 winner today announced his retirement from full-time competition at the end of the 2021 season, while also confirming he will take over from Roland Dane as Managing Director and Team Principal of the Red Bull sponsored outfit from 2022.

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“I’ve always said that after I retire from full-time driving, I want to keep going racing and in 2018 I made the commitment for that to be with Triple Eight by becoming a shareholder," Whincup said.

"I’m honoured that Roland trusts me to lead the family that he’s built here in Australia.

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"I’ll certainly maximise every opportunity this year and beyond to learn from him and I’m grateful that he will still be dedicating a portion of his time in 2022 to ensuring the team and I have the best opportunity for success.

"I have to thank everyone who has supported me during my driving career – family, friends, fans and partners. I’ll be giving my all to making sure we deliver the best results possible in 2021.”

Dane, who established Triple Eight Race Engineering in Australia in 2003 after successful stints in British Touring Cars with his partners Derek Warwick, Ian Harrison and Peter Butterly, has sold the majority of his shares in the local operation. He will step back from the day-to-day operations next year to spend time with family and enjoy other motor racing activities, while remaining as chairman of the board of directors to assist in a part-time advisory role.

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“Since Jamie expressed an interest some years ago in continuing his career in motorsport with Triple Eight after he retires from full-time driving, the plan has always been for him to take the reins," Dane said.

"He has proven himself to be an integral part of the Triple Eight family during his 15 years here and has absolutely nothing to prove on track.

"I have every confidence that he will approach his new role with exactly the same motivation, diligence and competitive spirit that he brings to the track at every round.

"COVID-19 has reminded me that I’m not getting any younger and I’m looking forward to having more time on my hands to enjoy different forms of motorsport in different capacities and spend more time with my elder daughter in the UK, once the pandemic permits."

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As part of the most significant management shake-up in the outfit’s history, motor racing identity Tony Quinn - the successful Queensland businessman behind VIP Petfoods and the man who revived the Darryl Lea chocolate brand - has become the majority shareholder in Triple Eight, taking 40 per cent ownership. At the same time Whincup will increase his share to 19 per cent and Jess Dane, Roland’s daughter, will hold 30 per cent ownership.

Whincup’s retirement from driving and his move into team management is a massive shift for the 37-year old after 19 years at the top of the Supercars competition.

He was plucked out of Formula Ford by renowned talent scout Garry Rogers to join his eponymous V8 Supercar team in 2003. And yet his career was almost over before it began when he was sacked at the end of his debut season.

Following a stand out performance with Tasman Motorsport in 2005, Whincup joined Triple Eight as an understudy to the legendary Craig Lowndes.

He finished 10th in his first year with the team in 2006, and since then has finished no lower than fifth - winning seven championship crowns (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017) and four Bathurst 1000 victories (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012). With 119 outright race wins, Whincup also holds the record as the most successful driver in Australian Touring Car racing.

 

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Andrew MacLean
Journalist

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