Jamie Whincup lowers V8 Supercars bar
Despite his recent domination of V8 Supercars, defending champion Jamie Whincup has lowered his expectations for the coming season given the sport's new paradigm.
Whincup has won four championship titles over the past five years, but feels the new 'Car of the Future' design changes and the end of the Holden v Ford duopoly have the potential to be humbling.
Nissan and Mercedes will step up to the V8 plate in 2013 and while the Holden driver is looking forward to the new competition, he's more excited about racing the new car in which his Triple Eight Racing team has invested $2.5 million to complete over the past few months.
"It's like we've hit the reset button and we're pumped for a big year," said Whincup at the unveiling of the VF Commodore with new team sponsor Red Bull in Sydney on Thursday.
"I'd like to think I'm as good a chance as anyone (of winning this year's title).
"The team's expectations are still very high but, for me personally, I've lowered my expectations.
"It's a new beginning and one we really needed.
"At the end of last year, it was getting repetitive.
"We were running the same car with the same tyre, same aerodynamics.
"The changes for this year are really refreshing."
The 30-year-old said he expects the introduction of the Nissan Altimas and Mercedes E-Classes to also reinvigorate the race program in the wake of Holden and Ford's famed head-to-head V8 rivalry since 1994.
"Those guys are high-quality teams which will no doubt challenge for race wins from about mid-season on," said Whincup.
"It's going to be exciting to see them grow and maybe they'll give us a good push this year and we're ready for the challenge."
Whincup and his teammate Craig Lowndes will get the chance to test their newly-built car at official testing at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend.
The first race of the V8 season is the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide from March 1.