Ross Stone says he is disappointed about Shane van Gisbergen’s sudden departure from his team and V8 Supercars, but insists the news will not affect other aspects of his team’s business.
Van Gisbergen, 23, confirmed today that he will leave the sport, citing personal reasons.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s breaking news story, with comment from van Gisbergen.
Stone has asked for people to respect van Gisbergen’s privacy at this time.
“SBR are disappointed to be losing such an exceptional talent and while there has been much speculation in the media regarding the reasons behind Shane wanting to leave, it is not for want of driving for another V8 team,” Stone said.
“Shane’s motives to quit the sport are private and SBR has agreed that the best way forward for all parties is to release Shane from his current three year contract.
“I ask that the media and public give Shane and his family the privacy they require at this time.”
Stone and his former champion team announced in September that it will merge with Erebus Motorsport next year, switching from Ford Falcons to Mercedes Benz AMG E-Class V8s, with the backing of wealthy motorsport enthusiast Betty Klimenko.
The new deal would have seen van Gisbergen compete in an SP Tools-backed AMG, with both the star Kiwi driver and SP Tools re-signing with the team for three years (until 2015).
While van Gisbergen will not be part of their program, Stone confirmed that SP Tools will honour its three-year deal.
“Major sponsor of the #9 SP Tools Racing Falcon, SP Tools, and SBR’s relationship will not be affected by Shane’s departure from the team and they will continue the three year contract they currently have,” he said.
“This decision will also not in any way affect the newly formed partnership between SBR and Erebus Motorsport, nor will it have any impact on the current sponsorship contracts we have.”
WIth the V8 Supercars ‘Silly Season’ well in play, the #9 SBR/Erebus seat becomes one of the most prized rides in the sport.
Stone says that the driver for the #9 car will be announced in due course.
“At this point in time we are not in a position to say who the replacement driver for the #9 car will be,” he said.
Lee Holdsworth and Tim Slade will be retained by SBR/Erebus as two of the team’s drivers for next year.