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Whincup hits reset button on V8 career
By Will Knight
18:44 AEST Thu Feb 14 2013

He's won four V8 Supercar championships and four Bathurst 1000 titles, but Jamie Whincup feels like the new kid on the block.

Despite his recent domination of the category, the 30-year-old Holden driver was stale at the end of last year and his thriving motorsport career needed to be reinvigorated.

So the sport's new paradigm came along at just the right time.

The introduction of the 'Car of the Future' design changes and the end of the Holden versus Ford duopoly have given Whincup a new lease of life with the first race of the season in Adelaide in just over a fortnight.

"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.

"In my mind right now, I feel like I'm the new kid on the block who hasn't won anything."

While looking forward to the new competition with Nissan and Mercedes stepping up to the V8 plate in 2013, Whincup says 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.

"At the end of last year, it was getting repetitive," he said.

"We were running the same car with the same tyres, same aerodynamics, same wall paint.

"The changes for this year are really refreshing. It's a new beginning and one we really needed."

However, Whincup says the newly-built car and its engineering intricacies have the potential to be humbling and he has softened his expectations accordingly even though he's won four of the past five titles.

"I'd like to think I'm as good a chance as anyone (of winning this year's title)," said Whincup.

"The team's expectations are still very high (based on past achievements) but, for me personally, I've lowered my expectations.

"These cars might hit the track at 60 per cent of their potential and it could take a year to get them to the 95 per cent mark."

Whincup expects the introduction of the Nissan Altimas and Mercedes E-Classes to also revitalise 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 Red Bull Racing teammate Craig Lowndes will get the chance to test their new machine 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.

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