Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : Feb Mar 2018 Issue 103 Contents 69
job and give the intelligent people the right
direction on which way we have to go to
make the V6 a very, very good race engine.
That’s what I mean. Your feedback –
what you feel through your right foot and
your bum – is going to be crucial part of
the engine’s development, isn’t it?
I think my time is better spent focusing
on that rather than pulling the throttle
cable on the dyno, and testing different
camshafts and pistons and things. I’ll leave
that to the intelligent people. A big team
effort is required by a lot of people to make
that whole project come together and we’re
certainly part of that.
Last year ebbed and flowed but essen-
tially it was a huge battle with Scott
McLaughlin. Are you looking forward to
fighting him again this year?
I’ve no doubt there’ll be more battles this
year. We battled hard and I really enjoyed
all the battles last year – and so did the
engineers as well. There was an awesome
engineering battle going on between the
engineers. It wasn’t just about the drivers.
It was team versus team, engineer versus
engineer, strategist versus strategist.
It was a cracker battle and I’m expecting no
different this year. No doubt they’ll step up,
but, as I said, I believe we can step up as good
as anyone, so I feel we should be competitive
and be able to grind it out with them again
Ever since McLaughlin got into that
Volvo you’ve had some epic encounters.
Yes, yes. Since he’s had a car good enough to
win, we’ve raced it hard. Unfortunately, the
stewards got involved at Bathurst a couple
of years ago, which they shouldn’t have, but
apart from that it’s been good, clean, hard
racing, which I’ve really enjoyed.
The Bathurst 1000 has been problematic
for you in recent years, so I imagine that
will be a big target for you this year?
For sure, for sure. We put in a big effort
every year. Last year was our worst Bathurst
performance for a long, long time, so it’s
certainly something we want to redress.
As well as McLaughlin being a main rival,
there’s your teammate Shane van Gis-
bergen, who was a bit quiet for much of
last year compared with your big battle in
2016. You’d expect SVG to bounce back
really strongly this season, wouldn’t you?
Oh, yeah. It seemed he didn’t like the new
tyre as much as myself, but we’re back on
the 2016 tyre, so I’m expecting him to start
firing again as well as he ever has.
And, despite all predictions, you and he
seem to get on remarkably well.
Yeah, yeah, exactly. You all doubted that for
a long time, but we’re good friends, unfor-
tunately for you guys. I’m sorry there’s not a
story of us boxing on in the team transporter
or anything like that. It hasn’t happened.
Before he joined were you a bit wary?
Were you concerned that the relationship
might be a bit fiery?
Oh, not really. Going into a teammate rela-
tionship is no different to meeting someone
in the street. You give them the opportunity
and make up your own mind. And we both
did that. We both decided that we get along.
We share some common things and relate to
each other and enjoy spending time together.
And what about Craig Lowndes? How’s
he going to go?
I think Lowndesy has a bit to prove. He has
his name on the team now, so that creates
some more pressure. I reckon he knows he
doesn’t have much time left, so no doubt he
wants to prove something before he hangs
the helmet up. So he’ll put his head down
and have a big dip in the next year or two.
Over the break, somewhat surprisingly,
you did a deal with Roland to extend for
another year to the end of 2019. Why?
Because I feel like I still have a lot to offer
on the track as a driver and I didn’t question
staying. Triple Eight’s a great fit for me –
they’re family now – and it was literally a
five-minute conversation. I said I want to
renew and he said, ‘Yep, no problems, how
long?’ I said another year – done deal.
It was highly unlikely that he was going
to say no, was he?
Well, I wasn’t sure. He may have had some
hotshot he wanted. I’m not going to be
around forever. But, no, he was as happy to
renew as I was.
You’ve said that you think you’ll see out
your full-time Supercars career with
Triple Eight, right?
Oh, I can’t see any different.
What about the challenge of going to
another team that’s not so strong and
leading them to the top? Surely that
would have some appeal?
No that doesn’t. If that had some appeal
I probably would’ve done that a long time
WHINCUP AT TRIPLE EIGHT
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