4 Jul 2019

'King of Townsville' has McLauglin in his sights

3:16 pm on 4 July 2019

He's the king of Townsville's streets and Jamie Whincup is out to end the 2019 Supercars reign of Scott McLaughlin.

Supercars championship leader Scott McLaughlin

Supercars championship leader Scott McLaughlin Photo: Photosport

Whincup heads to north Queensland having won 10 of 21 races at the Reid Park street circuit since its inaugural event in 2009.

The Red Bull Holden Racing Team star is hoping that record gives him the boost needed to close the gap on runaway championship leader McLaughlin.

The New Zealander holds a massive 319-point lead over DJR Team Penske stablemate Fabian Coulthard after claiming the Triple Crown in Darwin last month.

"We're really proud with what we've been able to do in Townsville over the years," Whincup said.

"That doesn't guarantee anything this weekend but we'll certainly go in with some confidence.

"I'm hoping it's going to be as close an arm wrestle as we've seen all year and we can really take it to the guys leading the championship."

McLaughlin's Top End performance means he's won 12 of 16 races this year.

Whincup is sixth on the championship standings, a distant 556 points behind McLaughlin.

Jamie Whincup

Jamie Whincup Photo: Photosport

The seven-time drivers' champion says McLaughlin's form must be viewed as a challenge to improve to Whincup and the rest of the Supercars field.

"Those guys have pieced together a really good combination who have had the best start to the year I think in the history of the sport," he said.

"They are doing a great job and for the interest of the sport hopefully the other teams can really step up.

"At the moment we just can't match them with pure car speed so we're working as hard as we can to try to improve the car speed so we can race those guys."

The Townsville 400 begins on Friday with practice before a 200km race each on Saturday and Sunday.

Townsville 400 key statistics

  • Ford's Scott McLaughlin will become the first driver since Jamie Whincup in 2008 to win six straight races if he can claim victory in Saturday's event.
  • Holden's Jamie Whincup has won 10 of 21 races in Townsville with 2013 and 2015 the only years he hasn't claimed at least one victory over a weekend in north Queensland.
  • Only four Townsville races have been won from pole position. Whincup in 2010 and 2016, McLaughlin in 2017 and Shane van Gisbergen in 2018.
  • -AAP