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Whincup a great example to us all

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    "Driving on the track is no different to driving on the road. It's important to keep the inputs as smooth as possible."

When you watch Jamie Whincup on the television he looks like he's driving to the shops.

He might be wearing a helmet and rattling along at anything up to 290km/h, but he's sitting calm and relaxed. Nothing takes him by surprise and he always seems to know what's going to happen before it happens.

Because of that, not because he is about to be confirmed as a four-time V8 Supercar champion and the best of his generation, Whincup is a great example to all of us. He even ensures his in-car radio calls to the pits and the Seven commentators are hands-free and never distract him from his driving.

"It's a bit of a myth that to drive fast you have to drive erratic. That's definitely not the case," Whincup tells me this week. He emphasises the effort that goes into the job of driving, whether it's fighting for first on the track or ensuring a nice life on the road.

"A lot of my study, and I suppose the art form of what I do, is making the car work for what I want it to do. That's making sure I have the weight on the front wheels when I want to turn, the back wheels when I want to accelerate, and the right side of the car for cornering." If you think he's just talking about racing, you're wrong.

"Driving on the track is no different to driving on the road. It's important to keep the inputs as smooth as possible. That's everything: the steering, the brakes, and the accelerator." What Whincup says is not new, but it's a timely reminder from a driver who has re-set the standard in V8 Supercar racing and also knows he is a role model to people across the country.

"I can tell straight away when I get into a car with a bad driver," Whincup says bluntly. "A good driver on the road will never have to slam the brakes on or take evasive action unless someone else does something unexpected or dumb. They shold be processing information well before it happens."

For Whincup, who effectively wrapped up the V8 Supercar series last weekend at Winton, nothing is ever good enough. Just like his role model, tennis champion Roger Federer, he's always thinking and learning and practising. He makes driving look so easy because he works so hard. When his super-talented team mate Craig Lowndes finishes at 6pm, Whincup will work until midnight if he thinks he can find something extra.

We can all learn something from Whincup, even if it's just a tiny little thing that makes a trip to the shops a little safer today than it was yesterday.

 

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