Triple Eight: Whincup "missing by a whisker"

Jamie Whincup is just a "whisker" away from winning races, says Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton.

Triple Eight: Whincup "missing by a whisker"

The seven-time Supercars champion has made what is by his standards a low-key start to the 2021 Supercars season.

A pair of thirds and a fourth at Sandown are his best results, alongside a seventh and sixth from the two Bathurst races last month.

His teammate Shane van Gisbergen, meanwhile, has clean-swept the first five races of the season, including three wins at Sandown while nursing a broken collarbone, damaged AC joint and three broken ribs.

The two T8 drivers are sitting first and second in the championship, but the Kiwi leads by a whopping 150 points, the equivalent of half a round, after two events.

The understated start to the campaign is no concern for Dutton, though. He says the dust is still settling on the off-season engineering changes that saw David Cauchi move from Whincup's car to van Gisbergen's, while Wes McDougall was hired from Matt Stone Racing to run the #88.

And he's confident the squad will find what Whincup is currently missing.

"He's P2 in the championship so he's missing by a whisker," Dutton told Motorsport.com.

"And we'll nail that down. We don't have all the answers right now, otherwise we'd fix them. But he's doing a great job.

"There's been some changes with him and Wes, and that's a bigger change than Cauchi jumping over to Shane because they were in the same camp already."

According to Dutton the key to improving Whincup's pace will be analysing data, something complicated by Whincup's workload out of the car. He is currently preparing to take over as T8 team principal next year, holds a seat on the Supercars Commission and runs a cafe and car wash business on the Gold Coast.

"Jamie is extremely busy," said Dutton. "So we've got to make sure we analyse the data, that we go through it all.

"I don't think we can make him too much less busy so he can focus on racing, because that's not life for him at the moment. But we'll make sure we're maximising the time we have."

Dutton added that the T8 organisation as a whole is dealing with an "insane" workload, the biggest he's ever seen during his long stint at the team.

As well as the Supercars race programme T8 is the homologation team for the new Gen3-spec Camaro that will debut next year.

The is also a new workshop being fitted out and full-season Super2 and GT World Challenge Australia campaigns.

"We're so busy right now with Gen3 stuff," said Dutton. "It should, touch wood, only get better. It might actually get worse for other teams towards the end of the year because they're obviously waiting for it to all be designed and produced before they can assemble cars.

"But right now the work load at Triple Eight is off the scale. It's next level busy. We've got Gen3, we're looking at upgrading our manufacturing capabilities, we've got GTs, we've got Excels, we've got a bit of Toyota 86 racing... we've got a few mountains to climb.

"If we can get to the top of those, then hopefully the year quietens down a little bit. Relatively. It will be super busy, but right now it's insane."

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