"Tall poppy syndrome" and "immaturity" behind Whincup polarising Supercars fans

Retiring Supercars legend Jamie Whincup says immaturity early in his career and tall poppy syndrome are factors that shaped his polarising relationship with Australian race fans.

"Tall poppy syndrome" and "immaturity" behind Whincup polarising Supercars fans

Whincup has enjoyed the most successful career in Australian touring car history, with a record seven Supercars titles, 124 races wins and four Bathurst 1000 crowns.

However he hasn't been universally loved across the journey like Peter Brock and teammate Craig Lowndes, Whincup a polarising figure among the fan base for much of his 15-year stint at Triple Eight.

That can be partly attributed to the Ford versus Holden tribalism in Supercars, Whincup's place in the long-standing rivalry complicated by T8's defection from the Blue to Red side ahead of the 2010 season.

As for other contributing factors to the 'Whingecup' persona, Whincup admits an 'immature' approach to public life early in his career didn't help endear him to fans.

"It's a combination [of things]," Whincup told Autosport.

"When I think about it, and analyse it – which I don't normally do – but... I look back at interviews I did in the early days and I almost cringe.

"I was a young kid, a little bit immature, and I just had one goal – go out there and race that car as hard as I could.

"In some ways I did a bad job in the press, hoping they wouldn't ask me to say anymore. If I do a bad job, they'll leave me alone.

"There's also the tall poppy syndrome here in Australia. I was somewhat loved when I was winning my first few races when I was the underdog. But then, Australians, we love shooting down anyone that's on a run and doing good things. Certainly in sport or politics.

"We love smashing them back down to earth. It's just something about the Australian make-up.

"I could have down things a little bit differently in the early days."

Race winner Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering

Race winner Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering

Photo by: Edge Photographics

But while accepting that he's ruffled some feathers along the way, Whincup says he hopes other have enjoyed his success and determined, uncompromising approach to motorsport.

"I'd like to think that when it's all said and done, there's plenty of people who have sat on the hill over the years and just enjoyed me giving it everything I've possibly got inside the race car," he added.

"Whether that was a win, whether that was running mid-pack, whether I ended up in the stewards room or lost a wheel or ran out of petrol, whatever it was, I just hope everyone enjoyed me trying to give it everything to get to the end.

Read Also:

"Some days it went well, some days it didn't."

Whincup will make his final start as a full-time Supercars driver in next Sunday's Bathurst 1000.

He reflects more on his polarising relationship with fans in his autobiography Drive of a Lifetime which goes on sale next week.

shares
comments

Related video

The white lie that helped van Gisbergen win the Supercars title
Previous article

The white lie that helped van Gisbergen win the Supercars title

Load comments
The well-travelled racer now Supercars' elder statesman Plus

The well-travelled racer now Supercars' elder statesman

James Courtney has been around the block in his motorsport career it's fair to say. After a single-seater career cut short, he's won everything there is to win in Supercars. Following a rocky ride recently in the Australian category, he's found a happy hunting ground with Tickford Racing, as Andrew van Leeuwen explains

Supercars
Oct 19, 2021
How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star Plus

How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star

His decision to leave Brad Jones Racing was the biggest shock of the Australian Supercars silly season so far. But for Nick Percat, it comes as the culmination of a personal journey that has made him into one of the most rounded drivers in the series, now in search of a seat that can make him a champion

Supercars
Sep 16, 2021
Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8 Plus

Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8

On the face of it, picking an 18-year-old rookie to replace arguably the greatest Supercars driver of all time is a risky move. But as Jamie Whincup takes up a team principal role and hands his car to Broc Feeney, it's one that he is confident will be rewarded in the fullness of time - time which wasn't afforded to Whincup in his early days

Supercars
Aug 31, 2021
How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention Plus

How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention

After his fledgling career was paused by a battle with testicular cancer, Thomas Randle then had to wrestle with finding a drive in Supercars after he got the all-clear. It's been a long road for the Melbourne native but, after two lengthy battles, he's finally got a full-time drive to look forward to

Supercars
Jun 25, 2021
How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle Plus

How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle

With Supercars’ Gen3 era on the horizon, a shift is set to take place – in more ways than one – but, as has become clear in recent weeks, the plan to bin the stick and use paddles with electronic assisted shift has been met with fierce opposition

Supercars
May 23, 2021
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Plus

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

OPINION: Roger Penske's operation helped lift Dick Johnson's faltering Ford team back to the top of Australian tin-tops. But, despite The Captain's departure, along with star driver Scott McLaughlin, there's no reason to expect an imminent decline from DJR

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Why Whincup's next move is no calculated gamble Plus

Why Whincup's next move is no calculated gamble

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But the team's outgoing boss Roland Dane has full faith that he'll be up to the task

Supercars
Feb 5, 2021
The top 10 Supercars drivers of 2020 Plus

The top 10 Supercars drivers of 2020

In a year of few constants, the Australian Supercars championship could be relied upon for its usual blend of rough and tumble racing with a V8 soundtrack. But who were its top performers in 2020?

Supercars
Dec 27, 2020