Whincup vows not to be a "puppet" in Supercars Commission role

Whincup vows not to be a "puppet" in Supercars Commission role
Oct 25, 2019, 6:26 AM

Jamie Whincup wrote a detailed letter to Supercars team owners promising that he wouldn't simply be a mouthpiece for Roland Dane if elected to the Supercars Commission.

Whincup was elected to the Commission during yesterday's Supercars AGM, he and Tim Edwards getting the nod for the two vacant seats while Erebus boss Barry Ryan missed out.

He effectively replaces Todd Kelly, who walked away from the Commission last month. 

The seven-time series champion has now revealed that his campaign to be elected included a promise to other team owners not to be a "puppet" for Triple Eight boss Dane, Whincup vowing to be his own man and make his own decisions during his tenure on the Commission.

"I wrote a very detailed letter to all the team owners and one of my points, right in the middle of the letter, was 'I’m not Roland'," explained Whincup. 

"I’m my own person, I’m not going to play a puppet for RD. While I have massive respect and value RD’s opinion, I’ve got my own view.

"The opinion that I bring to the table to make a decision will be my own."

Expanding on his motivation to join the Commission, Whincup says he wants to help drive change in what he feels is a difficult time for the sport. 

He also says he wants to protect his investment in the business, having taken a 15 per cent ownership stake in Triple Eight this time last year.

"Make no mistake, my motivation is to make the sport better," he said.

"And yeah, so I can personally benefit. I'm going to be here in 20 years time. I don't know how many other team owners will be here in 20 years time, but I'll still be here rubbing door panels. 

"I want to be part of ensuring that we've still got a sport. And not only that, making sure we've got a really good sport. 

"And if the economy does get tough at some stage, and the consumer that goes to 10 sporting events in a year can only do two, I want to make sure at least one of them is a Supercars round so they can experience what it's all about.

"My plan is to attempt to make a difference. Now I don't want to disrespect the people that are there, they are highly qualified people doing a fantastic job. They're doing such a good job that I'm not going to be able to make a massive impact, but I'm hoping to be able to make a difference. 

"The last thing I want to do is blend in and cruise along for the next two years and not actually achieve anything. I want to get in and try to make a difference or get told to piss off. That's much better than just blending in and doing nothing.

"The first thing I’ll do is go through the last three years of Commission notes to find out how we got here and understand what we’re trying to sell.

"Why is this grandstand full? Why are they here? Are they here because it smells good? Are they here for the noise? Are they here for the actual competition? Are they here because we’re doing something extraordinary that they wouldn’t do themselves? Or is it a combination? Is it just a good sporting event and good atmosphere to be around?

"My agenda is to understand what we’re really selling, the history of what we’ve really got, then I’ll make a plan on how to attack the weakest parts."

He also thinks being a current driver will benefit the Commission.

"I think it's important," he said. 

"While the Commission makes a lot of decisions on pure numbers and engineering data, which is what they should do, I think it's really valuable to have someone who's actually experienced the machinery. 

"They've actually experienced the driver warning system, they've used that ripple strip, they've been in that gravel trap, they've been in a car where the cool suit has failed, they've experienced the windscreen buffeting, they've experienced a transaxle versus a normal gearbox,  soft tyre, hard tyre, what it's like for a tyre to blow up... all those different things. 

"I think it's good to have that perspective from a driver, not necessarily to fix the problem – because we're not the most intelligent people getting around – but to at least ask the right questions to the engineers to make sure we've got the full picture."

Whincup is the only new face on the Commission, with Edwards effectively being re-elected to his position. They will hold those seats until October 2021.

The seats held by Brad Jones and Ryan Story, the latter an alternate commission seat, aren't up for election until next October.

As for the Supercars Board, Rod Nash was returned uncontested alongside Jones, whose position is locked in until next year's AGM.

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About this article

Series Supercars
Drivers Jamie Whincup
Teams Triple Eight Race Engineering
Author Andrew van Leeuwen