Van Gisbergen to make Bathurst 6 Hour debut

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen will have the chance to become a ‘triple crown’ winner when he makes his Bathurst 6 Hour debut this year.

The Kiwi will drive a Smollen Motorsport-prepared BMW M4 in the production car race alongside seasoned Porsche Carrera Cup Australia driver Shane Smollen, and Rob Rubis.

The latter has several Nurburgring 24 Hour, Bathurst 12 Hour, and Bathurst 6 Hour starts to his credit.

Speaking with Speedcafe.com, van Gisbergen said he was keen to join the grid after seeing the provisional entry list, which already has more than 50 cars entered.

The Triple Eight Race Engineering driver was already scheduled to be at the event competing in Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS in a Mercedes-AMG GT3.

“I just saw the entry list, saw it was massive, and it’s an event that looks pretty fun, so I rang around to try and find something,” said van Gisbergen.

“I’m going to be there for the GT3 racing so I thought I would try and do a fun race while I’m there. It’d be cool to win that one as well.

“I’ve raced against Shane [Smollen] and knew he used to go really well in Pro-Am in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, but it actually came through Tristan Ellery, it’s the same team he drives for.

“The team make some quick BMWs. It just so happened that they were looking at a couple of drivers as a third driver for one of their cars and I got the gig.”

The 31-year-old said he’s eager to contest the production-based race.

“They’re quite cool underneath, they’re obviously production-based, but the thing has got a bit of engine work done,” van Gisbergen explained.

“They’ve got good suspension, good brakes, and they still do 280 km/h down Conrod Straight. They’re properly fast cars.

“Watching the racing the last couple of years, it looks pretty fun seeing all kinds of cars racing. It should be cool to do something different.”

Should van Gisbergen win the race, he’ll become just the second driver after Paul Morris to win the Bathurst 6 Hour, Bathurst 12 Hour, and Bathurst 1000 endurance races.

“Any more racing at Bathurst is good,” he said.

“I’ve got a couple of big wins there now in the different races. It would be cool to win another one.

“Hopefully the car is competitive. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be. It would be cool to do that, but I’m not thinking about that too much.”

Smollen said he’s eager to see how van Gisbergen fares in the race, which has already attracted a sizable entry list after last year’s race was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“He’s obviously keen to be involved in most forms of motorsport,” Smollen told Speedcafe.com.

“In this particular case, it’s a marquee event, he’s previously won the Bathurst 12 Hour and the Bathurst 1000 and I’m sure he would like to add that title and to achieve that triple crown status.

“It’s being built to the latest spec and should be a competitive car. There’s several cars that will be of a similar spec in the car.

“It should be exciting and it’ll be interesting to see what Shane can do in a production car.”

With the car not far from being race ready, the team will test the BMW M4 at Queensland Raceway in the next few weeks.

The race has already amassed 51 entries for the Easter weekend meeting. The Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour takes place across April 2-4.

 

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