WHEN Jamie Whincup left Mount Panorama in 2013 after finishing second in the Bathurst 1000, he must have driven under a ladder or crossed the path of a black cat.
That would explain the run of bad luck he has endured in the Great Race since then.
Last year the Red Bull Racing star was the first to cross the line in the Bathurst 1000 after 161 laps, but he was not declared the winner.
He was handed a time penalty for an incident on lap 151 involving Garth Tander and Scott McLaughlin, the additional 15 seconds dropping him to 11th.
“To cross the line first last year and not get the win, that’s pretty painful, that will stick with me forever,” Whincup said.
That came after his 2015 race when he was in a position to win but ruled to have illegally passed the safety car going up Mountain Straight as the critical final pit stops were taking place.
While Whincup thought he had been ‘green lighted’ to pass the safety car, he was handed a drive through penalty and ended up in 18th.
In 2014, a potential podium went begging as well as Whincup ran out of petrol on the final lap when pushing for a win. He had to settle for fifth.
“It’s no secret that I haven’t had the best run the last three years, but to be honest, I’m so proud to have been in contention the last four or five years really,” Whincup said.
“I’ve been across the line first twice in that time and had the one win - the last three years haven’t quite gone our way.”
If there is one positive to take out of having potential wins go begging, it is that Whincup will be even more motivated to make amends this year.
He is in good form as his second placing in the championship indicates and has Paul Dumbrell – who has been alongside him in the endurance rounds since 2012 – back as his co-driver once more.
“I think it makes me more hungry, no doubt,” Whincup said.
“We’ll go out there and try and do a better job than last year.
“We’ll work on the last three years, we won’t be changing our strategy at all. We’ll just do what we can and try and be in contention again and hopefully things fall the right way this time.
“I certainly get nervous before every race, I think it’s a sign that I care and it means a lot. Of course I put a lot of pressure on myself to go out there and perform as well as a I can for me and my crew. No-one wants to be the weakest link, everyone wants to do the job for their team-mates.
“The competition this year is just so strong, so this race is going to be a cracker.”