Triple 8: Attention To Detail

Last weekend, Triple 8 Race Engineering’s Jamie Whincup completed his sixth Australian V8 Supercars Championship title, moving him into first place on the all-time champions list, ahead of Pete Geoghegan, Dick Johnson and Mark Skaife – all of whom won five championships.

Rarified air.

Before I continue, I’d like to point out I’m not specifically a fan of Whincup and Triple 8 – first and foremost I am a Holden fan – so this is by no means a “fanboi” piece. I hear a lot of people commenting about how they are sick and tired of Whincup winning all the time.

Indeed, all six of his championships have come in a seven season block – missing out in 2010 when he came second to James Courtney.

The bottom line is that as a combination, Triple 8 and Jamie Whincup are so good that frankly everyone else needs to try harder. Whincup himself has even said as much this week, calling for other teams to “raise their level”.

That might appear a bit conceited on the surface, but ultimately he’s right. He’s not going to step back a little just to give others more wins, and others do need to lift their game.

But what makes them so good? Like many other dominant teams in motorsport – (for example, McLaren Honda in the 1988 F1 season, who won every race, bar one) – it is about attention to detail.

Even with the best car in the series – (and McLaren did have that in 1988) – it is the little things that lift you just that little bit higher – the desire to achieve that pushes those extra few tenths of seconds in lap time out of cars and drivers.

Allan Moffat is often quoted that in motor racing “the harder you work, the luckier you get” – and he’s right.

Here’s an example from just last weekend during the rain-shortened Saturday race. Note the normal blue headlights – featuring the Komatsu sponsorship on a Triple 8 Commodore:

When the rain started, as did most drivers, Whincup turned on his headlights, shining through the blue headlight covering:

When the race was suspended, and the cars were waiting in pit lane, the team were carefully wiping around the doors, getting rid of as much water as possible:

And what else did they do during the stoppage? Unlike any other team that I noticed, they ripped off the headlight coverings, and when the race resumed under the safety car, the full power of the headlights was useable:

You may love another team or driver, but you can’t deny that Triple 8 think of everything, and go that little bit further to do everything they can to get across the line.

Did removing the headlight covers win Whincup the race?

Probably not – but the team were thinking on their feet and giving him all of the tools he needed. I didn’t see any other team do anything like this. The other cars in the screenshots with blazing headlights don’t have their headlights covered normally.

It is this attention to detail, this hard work, that makes Triple 8 so “lucky”.

So yes…other teams? Lift your games.