SVG committed to Supercars for 2024
By Mark Fogarty
Friday 23rd June, 2023 - 6:00am
Stumped superstar Shane van Gisbergen is committed to continuing with Triple Eight next year as he eyes future overseas opportunities, including a switch to NASCAR.
Amid growing speculation that his discontent with Gen3 could see him quit Supercars at the end of the season, van Gisbergen has declared unequivocally that he’ll be back in 2024.
He has renewed his contract with Red Bull Ampol Racing for another two years – but with the proviso that he can leave in 2025 if he secures a major engagement overseas.
SVG is making his NASCAR debut next week, which could lead to more regular appearances next year and beyond if he performs as well as expected in the top-level Cup Series’ first-ever street race in Chicago.
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Asked by Speedcafe if he would still be in Supercars next year, van Gisbergen replied without hesitation: “Yes, 100 percent.”
He added: “The year after, I’m not sure. But 100 percent I’m going to be here next year.”
His emphatic declaration would seem to shut down conjecture that his difficulties so far this season are souring his interest in staying in Supercars.
His title defence has been undermined by niggling car issues and poor qualifying, although his race pace is usually outstanding.
Van Gisbergen’s results haven’t been up to the expectations set by his domination in 2021/22, and lately he has been overshadowed by his team-mate Broc Feeney.
But the triple Supercars champion isn’t bemoaning his position, pointing out that his points deficit to title leader Brodie Kostecki is just 110 points – 40 fewer than a race win.
“It’s not a disaster, like everyone seems to be making it out to be,” he told Speedcafe before flying out to the States. “We had a really shocking Friday [in Darwin] … but to come out of that weekend second on points and one-two for the team, it’s not a disaster … going pretty well, really.”
— Shane van Gisbergen (@shanevg97) June 22, 2023
Indeed, if it weren’t for his and Feeney’s disqualification from their one-two in the opening race at Newcastle, they would be at the top of the table, with Feeney just ahead.
The race win score would be four each, not four-three in Feeney’s favour. SVG is tied with Will Brown on three wins, with Kostecki on two victories bolstered by several podiums.
Van Gisbergen is fourth in the drivers’ championship after five of 12 rounds, maintaining that he is still very much in title contention.
“We’re still well in the hunt,” he said. “It’s not the end of the world yet. We’ve only had five rounds. It feels like a long year already, but we’re only just starting.”
However, he did suggest that he is still not a fan of the Gen3 cars’ racing characteristics.
“You saw on the weekend [at Hidden Valley Raceway], the races were pretty stale, apart from a bit of action from people trying to make things happen,” said van Gisbergen, who is leading the push to establish an official drivers association. “But otherwise, you can’t really race. It’s worse than last year.
“But it is what it is and we won’t give up. We’ll keep trying to make it better for the drivers and teams.”
The Brisbane-based New Zealander obviously has long-term NASCAR aspirations – hence the 2025 get-out clause in his Triple Eight contract – but his deal with Trackhouse Racing is for the Chicago street race on July 2 only.
“At the moment, it’s just a one-off,” he stressed. “Doing all I can to hopefully think maybe it might lead to something else.”