Van Gisbergen’s #1 Holden tribute confirmed

Shane van Gisbergen #1 Holden

Shane van Gisbergen will drive Car #1 as a tribute to Holden in Adelaide

Red Bull Ampol Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen will indeed drive Car #1 as a tribute to Holden in its final Supercars Championship event, this weekend’s Valo Adelaide 500.

The now three-time champion floated the idea of swapping his trademark #97 to mark the occasion in recent weeks, a decision which has now been confirmed with the unveiling of Triple Eight Race Engineering’s special tribute livery for its ZB Commodores.

It means that a Holden will carry the #1 plate for one last time in the Australian Touring Car Championship, in its home town, before Supercars’ Gen3 era begins next year.

“I think the Holden tribute livery looks awesome – everyone that has been involved in the design has done a fantastic job,” said van Gisbergen.

“I’ve also decided to run #1 on my car for the final round of the season. We’re in a lucky position with the championship wrapped up that we can do something cool like this.

“It’s a thank you to the entire team because I know they’ve always loved running the #1 and have truly earnt it this year. It also suits with the last race for Holden running the #1 on the side of the car.

“I’ve got memories of Jamie [Whincup] and Skaifey [Mark Skaife] running the #1 at the start of the season and winning on the streets of Adelaide, and it was the manufacturing home of Holden, so hopefully it will be a meaningful tribute to the many employees past and present.

“It would be great to win the last race for sure, but if it can’t be me, hopefully it’s another Holden.”

Triple Eight has won eight drivers’ championships as a Holden team, including that achieved by van Gisbergen this year which will become official once the Adelaide 500 event is complete.

However, the New Zealander had opted to retain his usual #97 in the seasons following his 2016 and 2021 championship victories, until now.

The nod to the famous Australian marque, which began as a saddlery around one kilometre away from the Adelaide street circuit, represents just the second time since he joined Tekno Autosports in 2013 that SVG will not have driven Car #97 in Supercars.

van Gisbergen Holden flag

Van Gisbergen’s iconic celebration after winning the 2020 Bathurst 1000, the last for the official Holden Racing Team. Picture: Fox Sports

The other instance was last year’s Bathurst 1000, when he asked Triple Eight to give him #888 as a tribute to Roland Dane, who was retiring as Team Principal that weekend.

Van Gisbergen’s latest number switch has the popular approval of readers based on a Pirtek Poll on the subject, with just over two thirds of respondents voting in favour of the change to #1.

Chris Payne, Chevrolet Racing & Holden Motorsport General Manager, said, “Feelings will certainly be high at the Adelaide 500 this weekend for the final appearance of a Holden-badged Supercar.

“Holden fans have been passionate supporters since 1948, and this Holden tribute livery from Triple Eight, combined with the decision by Shane to run the #1, is a fitting way for the Lion to have one final roar.

“Over 50 years of spirited competition, and at times bitter rivalry between Holden and Ford, will come to an end on Sunday; but the next exciting era will soon be upon us with Gen3, and we cannot wait for the debut of the all-new Chevrolet Racing Camaro Supercar in 2023.”

Triple Eight was Holden’s last factory team, from 2017 to 2020, with van Gisbergen and Garth Tander winning the Bathurst 1000 in the latter of those seasons.

Its predecessor as the Holden Racing Team, now known as Walkinshaw Andretti United, is set to unveil its own special livery tomorrow ahead of its last event before fielding Ford Mustangs at the beginning of the Gen3 era.

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