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Whincup’s Bathurst Ferrari flashback

FOUR-TIME Bathurst 1000 winner Jamie Whincup has plenty of tales and the highs and lows of racing at Mount Panorama, but it’s often over-looked that he’s also a Bathurst 12 Hour winner.

Whincup drove a Ferrari 488 GT3 to victory on debut in the event in 2017 alongside Toni Vilander and Craig Lowndes for Maranello Motorsport.

Vilander put the #88 Ferrari on pole position in the Saturday Shootout with a 2m02.861-second lap and the trio led 134 of the 290 laps on their way to victory.

It didn’t take long for Whincup to adapt to GT3 machinery – in fact, it seemed like he’d been doing it for ever. His pass on regular teammate Shane van Gisbergen (driving the Scott Taylor Motorsport/HTP Motorsport Mercedes AMG) towards the end of the race was truly, spectacular.

TICKETS: Buy your tickets to the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour

“We were eyes wide open,” Whincup said in 2020 in V8 Sleuth’s ‘Bathurst: Going Global’ book, available here for a special sale price in the V8 Sleuth Superstore and documenting the first 10 years of GT cars racing in the Bathurst 12 Hour.

“I don’t think we had an expectation of a result, we just wanted to do as good a job as we could with the limited experience, we had in GT racing. The car proved to be very, very fast and I think it would have had to have been the car to be in at that stage, as far as the BoP (Balance of Performance) goes.

“Toni maximised qualifying and did a really good job to put us on the front row, and then it was a really exciting race. It’s crazy that after 11 hours I’m battling with my Supercar teammate in ‘SVG’. We stopped and put four tyres on at the end so we had a speed advantage but we didn’t have track position, so it was all going to come down to if I could get past, we’d be OK, and thankfully the Ferrari had good straight-line handling and was on good tyres and I was able to come out of the Cutting well and get the pass done.

“There’s no real point in getting too far ahead at Bathurst because unless you lap the field, it means nothing, so I feel like we all contributed. Lowndesy did a fantastic job and a combination of driving, fast car and also fantastic teamwork, strategy-wise and pitstops, we got the job done on that day.

“It was a very unique experience! I had to make sure that I stayed within myself because even in longer stints you’re not sure what happens over a stint and when the rubber comes down and how the GT car reacts. It was learning every lap, but it was a great experience.”

Whincup has since made five more starts in the Bathurst 12 Hour and finished on the outright podium twice.

He finished runner-up in 2018 in a SunEnergy1 Mercedes-Benz with Kenny Habul, Tristan Vautier and Raffaele Marciello, fourth in 2019 in a Vodafone Mercedes with Lowndes and Shane van Gisbergen and third in 2020, also in a Mercedes, with van Gisbergen and Maxi Goetz.

Last year Whincup shared a Johor/Triple Eight Mercedes with Richie Stanaway and Prince Jefri Ibrahim in the 12 Hour. Their Boost Mobile-backed AMG finished 10th outright and third in the Pro-Am Class.

This year’s Repco Bathurst 12 Hour will be held at Mount Panorama across February 16-18.

Jamie Whincup crosses the line to win the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour on debut. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.
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