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Whincup warms up for tough 2014


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Greatness has already been achieved by five-time V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup.

But it seems rivals ain’t seen nothing yet.

Whincup reckons his remarkable feats to date “don’t mean a great deal” to him yet as he prepares to launch his title defence at this weekend’s season opener on Adelaide’s street circuit.

Besides, the Holden driver is only getting warmed up.

Already considered a Hall of Famer in waiting, Whincup appears to be planning plenty more years of dominance yet after being rejuvenated by one of the closest title fights in history in 2013.

And his hunger for success won’t be satisfied any time soon after Whincup claimed he looked forward to what he believed would be “the toughest year in the history of the sport”.

Whincup can become the first man to claim a sixth national touring car title this year – and second to win four straight.

Few are ruling it out after Whincup claimed a record-equalling title No.5 last year despite organisers introducing the Car of the Future (COTF) regulations that ensured uniform vehicles and new threats Nissan and Mercedes.

“That was the big motivator last year. People were saying ‘you have a superior car and that’s all it (success) was down to (in the past)’ so to back up when all the cars were the same meant a hell of a lot to me,” Whincup told AAP.

“I am sure I will appreciate it more when I retire in 10 years’ time, I hope.

“At the moment, it doesn’t mean a great deal. I am still in the heat of battle going hard.”

The COTF model ensured an unprecedented 13 different race winners last year.

And Whincup reckoned it would not get any easier in 2014 with Kiwi young gun Scott McLaughlin spearheading Volvo’s first touring car campaign Down Under since 1986.

Still, Whincup’s Red Bull team boss Roland Dane predicted a seventh title by 2015 for his charge this week when he re-signed for 12 months, describing his Holden ace as “the best touring car driver in the world”.

Qualifying for the season opener will be held on Friday with two 125km races on Saturday – including a twilight event – and a 250km finale on Sunday.

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