SVG: Supercars ‘worse than ever for all the background stuff’

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen has described Supercars as “worse than ever for all the background stuff” as he opened up following his new contract with Triple Eight Race Engineering.

The three-time Supercars champion recently inked a multi-year deal to continue driving a Red Bull Ampol Racing Camaro after himself raising doubts about his future in the category.

However, as it turns out, the new contract locks him in to just 2024, with a get-out clause should he land a drive in another category.

Speaking in an interview which aired on the Fox Sports/Supercars broadcast during the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint, van Gisbergen seemed to express disappointment with behind-the-scenes politics.

For now, though, it is not enough to drive him out of the championship.

“It’s weird, because the series is worse than ever for all the background stuff,” said the 33-year-old.

“It’s really bad.”

The nature of that ‘background stuff’ was not specified, but it is notable that van Gisbergen felt pressured to refrain from any public critique of Gen3, for fear of upsetting “top brass”, during an infamous press conference at the season-opener in Newcastle.

While Supercars CEO Shane Howard insists that drivers have not been gagged, SVG is understood to have ruffled feathers within the senior ranks of the championship over Gen3 comments and opinions he has aired with respect to the calendar.

He was already on the record in expressing disappointment about the absence of an event in his native New Zealand this year, and has now also called for heartland circuits in Australia to be prioritised above overseas ventures.

“It’s weird in the series, all the stuff that goes on, but especially not going to New Zealand, which is, I guess, a personal gripe,” noted van Gisbergen.

“But, going overseas to, like, Singapore and Middle East, what’s the point?

“We have new cars, which are awesome; we should be going to places like Winton to take it to the people and make them fall in love with the sport again.

“We’ve got this awesome new product; why are we going overseas with it?

“Our sport here is awesome – the events we do here and [in] New Zealand – I don’t understand why we go overseas.

“We’ve got these awesome new cars that we can make better and make them cool here.”

Despite those gripes about how the championship is run, the two-time Bathurst 1000 winner has glowing praise for his Triple Eight team, and even put a positive spin on difficulties which he has experienced with his new Camaro.

“The team is awesome; I love being part of the team,” he remarked.

“I love the challenge this year of the car. The car’s difficult but, as a driver, you’ve had to think it’s the same for everyone and you’ve got to just drive as best you can, but make all the set-up stuff.

“So, it’s interesting. It’s a real engineer’s car, you have to make it better than everyone else’s, and the driver, you feel like you have less influence over it, which is good.

“I’ve had to get better at my off-track stuff, understand the car more, and think about what makes it tick, what makes it fast.”

Van Gisbergen is currently third in the championship after finishes of first, fifth, and 12th at Wanneroo Raceway.

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