Shane van Gisbergen expects to challenge for class honours as he prepares for his fourth shot at the Daytona 24 Hours this weekend.
The new Supercars champion will rejoin WeatherTech Racing where he will pilot a brand new GTD class Mercedes AMG GT3 alongside experienced Americans Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette and factory Mercedes driver Thomas Jaeger.
The New Zealander has quickly earned a strong reputation with the American operation since he made his debut with the team at Daytona in 2014.
Van Gisbergen is keen to avenge the heartache he suffered at the Florida circuit last year when a frightening rear wing failure in the final hour dashed hopes of a GTD class victory.
Second in class at the 2015 edition remains his best finish at the event to date.
Following a strong test earlier this month, he is confident the team, which has merged with the famous Riley Motorsports outfit, has all the ingredients to go a step better this year.
The event will be the first of three visits to America this year with Van Gisbergen set to rejoin the team for IMSA rounds at Sebring (March 15-18) and Watkins Glen (June 30-July 2).
“I think our car will be very strong,” Van Gisbergen told Speedcafe.com.
“The WeatherTech team is always awesome to race with as we have so much fun.
“The car is very reliable and easy to drive. All four drivers are similar in speed and this is a big thing for us to have a consistent race pace.
“This year we have changed to the Riley Motorsports team and they have got massive history in racing so it will be cool to join them and get know them.
“Last year we were a very good chance before the wing fell off the Porsche but if everything comes together and we get it right we should be pretty strong.”
Van Gisbergen’s Daytona outing arrives just a week before lining up at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour where he will also drive a Mercedes AMG GT3, courtesy of Scott Taylor Motorsports.
The defending event winner will team up with countryman Craig Baird and factory Mercedes driver Maro Engel, who is also in action at Daytona this weekend.
The Daytona 24 Hours begins at 0630 AEDT on Sunday.
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