Triple Eight intent on avoiding complacency

Triple Eight team principal Jamie Whincup and team manager Mark Dutton. Pic: Supplied

TRIPLE Eight could have both Supercars championships sealed within a matter of days, but the team is eager to ensure complacency does not creep in at the Gold Coast 500.

The Holden juggernaut’s mega season continued earlier this month when Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander won the Repco Bathurst 1000.

That has put van Gisbergen on the brink of a third drivers’ title, which he can put beyond mathematical doubt by finishing 24th or better in either Gold Coast race.

If Triple Eight is not outscored by 95 or more points by Dick Johnson Racing across the coming weekend, it will also be crowned teams’ champions.

With the major silverware firmly in sight, Triple Eight managing director Jamie Whincup is determined to keep his staff laser-focused.

“We don’t go into the weekend with a focus of what could happen, we’re just concentrating on what we need to execute to do a good job here,” he said.

“We’ve got to remind ourselves, 250km each day around this gnarly little street track, it doesn’t get any more of a concrete canyon than the Gold Coast and it doesn’t get any more variable than what can go on over the weekend.

“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves, we’re not overconfident, we’re here to do a good job and just concentrate on what needs to happen.”

Furthermore, he believes a poor end to the season at Gold Coast and Adelaide would sour an otherwise excellent year.

The Bathurst-winning Red Bull Ampol Commodore

“No doubt we’ll reflect on our year after Adelaide but reflecting on it before the last round could be a bit premature,” said Whincup.

“So far so good but if we don’t do good in the next two events, then it doesn’t matter how good you’ve gone at the start of the year, you’ll end the year somewhat disappointed.

“The focus for us now is not to get complacent and make sure we do what we know we’re capable of doing and that’s just race cars fast.”

The penultimate round of the season presents a particular challenge for van Gisbergen’s teammate Broc Feeney, who will race on an out-and-out street circuit for the first time in the main game (counting Townsville as a hybrid).

Feeney is the only driver in the 25-strong field to have never driven a Supercar at the Gold Coast before.

“I drove an Aussie Racing Car here in 2018 and then the MARC car in 2019, and the whole point of that was trying to get laps to try to get a co-drive in 2020,” Feeney said.

“Obviously we haven’t raced here since 2019 so I did drive here the last time we raced but certainly not in a Supercar and I don’t have years of experience.

“I’m just looking forward to it, I mean the track looks pretty crazy and that’s what I remember about it, but in a Supercar, 250km races is going to be hard work but you just go through your normal procedure.

“Every weekend I treat it like it’s a new track and still do all my notes and everything but just looking forward to getting out on track on Friday.

“I suppose a three-day meeting gives you a bit more time to think about it as well.”

Triple Eight will make its 600th Repco Supercars Championship race start tomorrow.

Opening practice starts today at 12:35pm local time (1:35pm AEDT).

Connor O’Brien joined V8 Sleuth in 2022 as website Editor. He won the Supercars Media Award in 2017 while working as a sports reporter at the Gold Coast Bulletin, before stints at Supercars and Speedcafe. During his time at V8 Sleuth he's twice (2022, 2023) been named Journalist of the Year at the Supercars Media Awards.