What makes a G.O.A.T?
A dash of talent? A sprinkle of hard work? A dollop of impressing the boss, maybe?
Our very own Jamie ‘JDub’ Whincup has nailed the formula, and with seven titles and 119 wins to his name, it’s a perfect time to sit down and reflect on the champion’s humbling beginnings.
Speaking on Greg Rust’s ‘Rusty’s Garage’ podcast, team owner Roland ‘RD’ Dane reminisced on the champ’s entry into his team, explaining the talent he saw in JDub which he was eager to capitalise on.
“Since the beginning of 2005 we had Craig (Lowndes) on board and that had been a massive part of the transformation of the team. Having him buy into the dream and then having him start winning races with was massive for everyone in the team.
“At that stage, I had to do something to try and put together a crew that would be capable of winning Bathurst. Not everyone used to pair their drivers up in those days, so I wanted somebody who was really good to drive with Craig, but who also would be a young Australasian driver who would appeal to the local market and was a half-generation younger than Craig who also had potential.
“I spoke to about three people on the short list: Frosty (Mark Winterbottom), Davo (Will Davison) and Jamie. To be honest, the one who jumped up hardest, highest and fastest was Jamie,” RD said.
Eager to sign on the young gun, RD joked about the hurdles, albeit small, he had to jump to get JDub on board.
“I think he thought it was a wind up when he got a call from me. He was driving in ’05 for another very good friend of mine, Tim Miles (Triple Eight Race Engineering co-owner) but he was out of a drive at the end of the year.
“He couldn’t get on a plane fast enough and said he didn’t care about the money, or at least said he didn’t care, so I didn’t pay him very much if he didn’t care about it,” joked RD.
“He was ready, willing and able but we had been particularly impressed by his driving in the two enduros both at Sandown and Bathurst with Jason Richards. He’d done exactly what he’d been asked to do at those two races, and we needed somebody who could do that.
“In December that year, we had a test day where Jamie came up and drove the car at Queensland Raceway, and to be honest within 10 laps we were looking at his brake traces saying, ‘this guy’s going to be special’.”
So, what did JDub have to do to get Triple Eight race ready?
“He needed to lose a bit of weight and get fitter, but he was going to be special.”
We can imagine RD was subtle when telling JDub this…
RD’s evaluation of JW’s success thus far is based on one main contributor: hard bloody work.
“Jamie’s success has been built around his work ethic. He’s not a driver that can just get in the car, go flat out then go and do something else – that’s just not Jamie’s methodology.
“I don’t want to take anything away from his natural talent because it’s huge but his success at the top level is because he works hard at it. He wants to know what’s going on, he wants to understand it, he wants to prepare himself properly, he wants to put himself in the right mental frame of mind before he gets in the car.
“His preparation has developed over the years because he’s seen a reward for it and he’s done better as a result of it. He’s worked harder than, I suspect, any other driver in pit lane for the success he’s had, but the success has come because he’s worked so hard,” said RD.
The former kid from Melbourne’s northern suburbs currently sits on 498 Supercars race starts, with the Supercars season postponed until June. The Supercars All Stars Eseries begins on April 8, with drivers racing at Phillip Island and Monza circuits for race one.
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