Shane van Gisbergen bears no ill will towards now former race engineer Grant McPherson, but admits the new Walkinshaw Andretti United recruit will be missed at Triple Eight.
Van Gisbergen arrived at Triple Eight in 2016, at which time McPherson was moved from Craig Lowndes’ car to the #97 entry, and has therefore not had another engineer during his time thus far in Banyo.
Their five years together is bookended by a championship and the New Zealander’s maiden win in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, which he speaks about at length in tomorrow’s episode of the KTM Summer Grill on Speedcafe.com.
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Van Gisbergen was asked about McPherson’s departure during that episode and said that he had no hard feelings about the Brisbane native’s decision.
“It was a weird one,” he said.
“I spoke to Shippy that day, or whatever it was, about it, and seemed okay, and then they rung him that night and just offered a little bit sweeter deal, I think.
“But I don’t blame him. It’s hard to move up where we are now – we’re pretty top-heavy there, there’s some awesome guys at Triple Eight – and he’s a super engineer.
“We get along really well, and it’d be great to see him progress and be better; it just would be great to do it together.
“Whatever happens next year, engineering-wise, (I) still don’t know yet, but (it will) be interesting to see.”
Triple Eight boasts some highly-rated technical minds, including race engineer-turned-Team Manager Mark Dutton and Technical Director Jeromy Moore, who returned in time for the 2020 season after a stint with Porsche during which he guided the German marque to outright victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
It can now also count Wes McDougall among its ranks, with his move up the road from Matt Stone Racing announced by that team shortly after WAU proclaimed its McPherson coup.
Exactly what position McDougall will hold at Triple Eight Race Engineering has not, however, yet been disclosed.
In any event, van Gisbergen will miss his right-hand man, with whom he had a “very good” relationship, but is philosophical about the development.
“He started actually two races before me, in 2007, so our career was pretty similar, the way we were progressing,” observed the 31-year-old about himself and McPherson.
“We worked together really well, he’s a proper racer, so certainly we’d rather have him at the team than not, but it happens, you move on.”
Van Gisbergen and team-mate Jamie Whincup will continue to race ZB Commodores for one more year, but under the Red Bull Ampol Racing banner in 2021.
Triple Eight revealed the logo for that moniker earlier this week, with a livery set to be shown off in the new year.
McPherson will link with WAU after a six-month period of ‘gardening leave’.
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