SVG calls Skaife criticism ‘a real kick in the teeth’

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen has described Mark Skaife’s criticism as “a real kick in the teeth” in a lengthy social media post explaining the behind-the-scenes ructions around Gen3.

Van Gisbergen was rebuked by Skaife on live national television over his refusal to properly answer questions in the press conference which followed his victory in Race 2 at the Thrifty Newcastle 500.

It was inferred that the Red Bull Ampol Racing driver was smarting about being disqualified from Race 1, but he and fellow Race 2 podium finisher David Reynolds were in fact reluctant to go on the record with concerns about the new Gen3 Supercars.

Drivers are known to have been admonished by senior figures within Supercars for comments which are perceived as negative towards Gen3, with the tension coming to a head in Newcastle when van Gisbergen all but refused to engage with the media on Sunday.

Skaife, who is in a conflicted position as a television commentator and RACE board member who has worked closely on the Gen3 project, described van Gisbergen’s behaviour as “not right”, although the New Zealander’s motives were not necessarily clear from the brief grab shown on television.

Now, van Gisbergen has taken to social media to explain his behaviour.

He claimed he “Unfortunately … upset some of the top brass” with his complaints about cabin heat, and committed to representing Supercars “to the best of my ability by being myself off track”.

However, SVG also declared, “I am not going to pretend it’s all roses when it is not.”

See below for full post

Shane van Gisbergen celebrates with fans after winning in Newcastle

Shane van Gisbergen celebrates with fans after winning in Newcastle

Full post from Shane van Gisbergen

Sorry for this long post, I thought I’d share some thoughts seeing as I kept most things to myself yesterday.

Most people probably have noticed I have been pretty quiet publicly over the past couple of months. My purpose of writing this is not to ‘explain myself’ nor to expect sympathy for the public bashing that some of us drivers get, I guess I’ve always been told like most of us as kids ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.’ I will never forget I’m in an extremely fortunate position of being a V8 Supercar driver, my dream job.

It’s not a secret I haven’t been a fan of the way the Gen3 car feels and drives, and behind closed doors I’ve been pretty critical of things and tried to make it better, firstly with feedback to the category in the prototype testing and now with my team trying to make the race spec car to my liking.

The category seems to think our complaints and gripes with the car will ‘make better racing’ if we are struggling and we are told to be positive and show the sport in a good light, which of course I understand the last part. I try to be as neutral as I can with my critiques of the car, I act with the intention of representing the drivers trying to make the car better for everyone.

As much as I don’t have a good feeling with the car at the moment it drops perfectly into my strengths – Hard to drive, on edge, hard on tyres. Perfect for me! So what am I complaining about? I guess I want not only myself, but all drivers to be getting out of the car raving about how awesome and fun it is to drive. Which is something that’s not really happening now.

Over the weekend I probably said a bit too much publicly on Friday about the heat of the cars, although it did prove fruitful getting extra cooling for the drivers. Many still struggled, including myself with the heat. Unfortunately that upset some of the top brass and hence my adopted media strategy for Sunday ‘if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it at all’. I just knuckled down and drove my arse off on track.

I understand it’s my duty to represent the sport in a good light as Champion, I will do that to the best of my ability by being myself off track, racing hard on track for my team members, team partners and our fans. It was a real kick in the teeth hearing those comments from a 5 time champion – someone I look up to and respect. I am not going to pretend it’s all roses when it is not.

The messages I have received today from fans, friends, colleagues and media members has been surprising and amazing. I was pretty down last night so to have such support today from the people that matter is a great feeling.

I love my team, they have been awesome this last couple of months helping me prepare and be at my best at Newcastle. I can’t thank them enough.

See you at the GP


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