Triple Eight Engineering boss Jamie Whincup has revealed the team has drawn up a hit list of drivers to take over his coveted No.88 seat in the Red Bull Ampol Racing team.
Fresh off the team taking a 1-2 double in Townsville over the weekend, Whincup said they were looking at several international drivers to fill the void left by his retirement from the main game at the end of the season.
But there is one young gun who remains at the top of the totem pole.
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Teenage tearaway Broc Feeney, who races for Triple Eight Engineering in the Super 2 series, appears to be being groomed by the team to take over next season.
Feeney was at his scintillating best in the Townsville Super 2 round over the weekend topping every session on the Reid Park street circuit.
Two practice sessions, three qualifying sessions and three races, Feeney was at the front of the field for it all.
Whincup said he watched on for each race and was excited to see the success of the young gun.
Red Bull legend and Broc Feeney (inset).Source:Supplied
“We did (see it), Broc is part of the team. He did a fantastic job in Super 2. He is certainly one driver in the mix and he is doing everything he can to grab the 88 seat next year,” Whincup said.
“There are a few (drivers in the mix), they come and go. There are not too many Australians or local drivers that are in the mix but there are a few internationals.
“Broc has put himself in the best position by going out there and driving well and qualifying well and racing hard. He is doing a very good job.”
Feeney made it clear he wanted to take over from the record seven-time champion and that he would be ready if the call came.
“I want to move up to the main series next year, that has been my goal, but firstly I want to win the (Super 2) championship this year and I believe that will put me in the best spot to move up,” Feeney said.
“Confidence is great at the moment, results like this give you the belief you can do it.”
Clutch pass sees SvG clean up in Townsville
Shane van Gisbergen has placed one hand on the Supercars Championship trophy after taking out back-to-back wins at the NTI Townsville 500.
Van Gisbergen beat out teammate Jamie Whincup in a two-horse race at the end of each race as the Red Bull Ampol Racing team proved their dominance of the Reid Park surface.
Whincup will have to wait for next weekend’s WD-40 Townsville Supersprint to score his fairytale final win at the circuit he has made his own over the past decade of racing.
Shane van Gisbergen is going to be hard to catch for the Supercars title now.Source:Getty Images
Whincup refused to give up without a fight against van Gisbergen in Sunday’s finale, but a late pit strategy proved crucial by the Red Bull team as the Kiwi shot under his teammate with 12 laps to go.
He quickly pulled away and despite running into traffic in the final lap, managed to keep out of trouble to join an elite group of drivers to have claimed 10 wins in a season.
No driver has lost the championship after winning 10 races in the season.
It was the top two garages on pit lane who finished in the top four, as Anton De Pasquale made it back-to-back podium finishes behind van Gisbergen and Whincup, while Shell V-Power Racing teammate Will Davison finished fourth.
Whincup said his team had thrown everything they had at the race, including running four green tyres in the final stretch, but he admitted there was always a feeling that van Gisbergen was coming for him.
“I knew at the end of the first stint we were in trouble, the 97 car was just better than us in race pace,” he said. “We were either going to get undercut or we were going to be a sitting duck at the end there.
Van Gisbergen celebrates his success in race two at Townsville.Source:Getty Images
“We gave it everything we had just not quite good enough. I am rapt for the team, it couldn’t be a better weekend, but there is a part of me that is gut wrenched. I led for 140 laps this weekend and didn’t get any of the chocolates.
“I wanted it bad, I gave it everything we had.”
Van Gisbergen has been in incredible form this season and his ability to get longer distance out of his car than most of the field proved crucial in the early stages.
The Red Bull Ampol Racing driver was one of the last to pit and dumped more than 90 litres of fuel into his car in the first stop to give him a chance to cut the distance between himself and Whincup to allow the clutch pass on the final turn with 12 laps to go.
“I can’t credit our engineering team enough, even though we are up front (of the championship) they are constantly developing and trying things with the car,” van Gisbergen said.
“(Whincup) fought hard today. I knew I was going to come at him again. It was awesome, I love racing against Jamie. You are always conscious not to hurt him, but I had to block pass him at the end there.”
Jamie Whincup led for most of race two but ultimately had to settle for second.Source:Getty Images
PERCAT PERPLEXED IN THE PITS
Nick Percat had his chances of a podium finish robbed in the pits.
Percat was perplexed when his pit crew were still clambering around the garage as he pulled up for wheel change.
Percat lost his power steering, in a similar vein to teammate Todd Hazelwood on Saturday afternoon, and it is understood he called for the bigger wheel from his team.
Brad Jones Racing have been the standard bearers when it comes to pit stops this season, but the speed was missing as Percat was forced to wait while his team scrambled to get a steering wheel ready.
“I think there was a bit of a miscommunication problem, we were getting it set up for him and he just came in,” BJR team manager Brad Jones said.
“We weren’t ready for him when he came in, we put a lot of fuel into it. It is a matter of how long he can last in the field steering the thing.”
Percat had qualified on the second row of the grid in fourth but fell more than a lap behind the rest of the field after he was forced to pit a second time to replace the steering wheel. He valiantly finished off the race in 21st place.
Nick Percat had his chances ruined by a poor pit stop.Source:Getty Images
BROWN’S GOLDEN RISE
The story of Sunday belonged to Supercars rookie Will Brown, who turned an 18th-placed car into a fifth placed finish within 24 hours.
Brown was impressive in qualifying, booking his first Top 10 Shootout and made great moves to keep himself within touching distance of the leading pack throughout the 88 laps.
He also produced an impressive move to get past Cameron Waters in the final two laps to finish inside the top five and get his best finish for the season.
“It was bloody awesome, racing those blokes up the front it was clean,” Brown said.
“Turned it around from an 18th placed car to a P5, it was awesome. It is pretty cool to come up and race these Supercars every weekend, Erebus have done a fantastic job out here.”
Originally published asTeen phenom set to take legend’s Red Bull seat
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