Triple Eight insists SVG happy despite Gen3 shakedown silence

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen

Triple Eight Race Engineering Team Manager Mark Dutton says Shane van Gisbergen was happy with his Gen3 shakedown experience despite declining to speak to media on the day.

Triple Eight shook down both of their Red Bull Ampol Racing Chevrolet Camaro Supercars at Queensland Raceway, clocking up total mileage of around 650km, split slightly in favour of van Gisbergen and Car #97 over team-mate Broc Feeney and Car #88.

For the former, the first season of Gen3 will be pivotal in his career, given the three-time champion will hold off on signing another contract to race in Supercars until he experiences how the new cars race.

While a man of few words, van Gisbergen is forthright when he does express opinions about the category, including the not uncommon view that the creep increase in downforce has diminished the sporting contest.

A fix to that problem was one of the stated aims of Gen3, with Supercars claiming that downforce has been slashed by more than 60 percent relative to the final season of Gen2.

Notably, van Gisbergen was seen closely following James Golding in the PremiAir Racing Camaro at one point of their Queensland Raceway shakedown, and then circulating with Feeney near the end of the day.

Dutton told that indications from those moments are that the Gen3 cars follow “Much better than the Gen2 cars.”

He added, “That was obviously one of the big briefs for the design work around Gen3, particularly around the reduction in the aero which the category wanted to do, to make better following, and better following should lead to better passing.

“The initial testing we did out there [at the shakedown] is very, very promising, so Shane in particular was just smiling at that potential there of much better racing, and Broc as well speaking about fun days ahead.”

Van Gisbergen had said that the prototype machinery “wasn’t great” when he drove it after last year’s Symmons Plains event, in late-March.

That was in fact his last outing in a Gen3 car for 2022, with the New Zealander also querying why “established guys” who could provide informed feedback had not been allowed to have a significant role in development of the ruleset.

Worth considering also is that his honest opinions on issues in Supercars, even when popularly held by fans, are not always received kindly by certain administrators.

That raises the question of what was wrong for van Gisbergen at the shakedown, one which was put to Dutton.

“No, I’m saying he’s smiling, he’s very happy,” he responded.

“I mean, we’re just focused on getting the job done, Shane’s focusing on the car.

“He was super-happy about the way they followed at the test day. I’ve seen him smiling all day.”

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