Van Gisbergen: I still love Supercars
Monday 3rd July, 2023 - 2:06pm
Shane van Gisbergen says he still ‘loves’ Supercars despite entertaining the idea of leaving the category in 2025 to race in NASCAR.
The three-time Supercars champion become the first debutant NASCAR Cup Series race winner in 60 years with his triumph on the streets of Chicago in a topsy-turvy affair, in Trackhouse Racing’s ‘Project91’ Camaro.
He has a get-out clause in his latest, two-year Triple Eight Race Engineering contract such that he can leave early if he lands a drive in another category for 2025, and suggested he may pursue that option in his post-race television interview.
“I’m doing one more year in Oz and then I’d love to come over here,” said van Gisbergen when the topic of interest from NASCAR teams was raised with him.
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However, when fronting the subsequent media conference, the New Zealander certainly was not ruling out the prospect of seeing out the entirety of his newly-signed Triple Eight deal.
“I miss racing in the States,” he replied when asked about competing full time in the USA.
“I’ve done Daytona [24 Hour] four or five times now, and just the way the American people are and how they go racing, it’s so much more enjoyable.
“Even during the media stuff – which I hate – like, everyone here’s really nice, they ask good questions, and they’re respectful and it goes both ways.
“So, everyone has made me feel comfortable and it’s so enjoyable, the way the races are run.
“Like, the qualifying at Nashville [where he watched on a week earlier], I couldn’t believe how relaxed everyone was, but then it was like a switch; the intensity turns on and away it goes.
“I’m committed next year to Supercars, I still love Supercars, and hope it goes well there.
“But in ‘25, who knows?”
The 34-year-old is a two-time Bathurst 1000 winner, a three-time Supercars champion, a Bathurst 12 Hour winner, a GT World Challenge Endurance Cup title winner, and even a WRC class podium finisher.
He ranks the Cup Series race win up with his best achievements, but still holds the Supercars honours at the very top.
“It’s obviously pretty high but still, like, Supercars is my dream, and winning that championship and races like Bathurst over there are still top of the list,” said van Gisbergen.
“But to come in and do this, I don’t know where it ranks yet – it’s still sinking in – but it’s obviously one of the most special victories I’ve ever had.
“To share it with so many people, to have my dad come over and a few other family… and how awesome this team is.
“It’s great, Trackhouse is such a cool organisation to be part of. The atmosphere in the team, I’ve never really experienced anything like it before.”
Van Gisbergen had stated in the days out from the Chicago event that he was sampling NASCAR in part due to a dissatisfaction with Supercars, which squares with comments about the new Gen3 race cars themselves and also politics which reached a flashpoint with the infamous Newcastle press conference and public chiding from RACE board member/Supercars television commentator Mark Skaife.
However, the New Zealander has publicly stated on previous occasions that he wants the best for Supercars, and referred to the Gen2 cars as “awesome” notwithstanding their aero wash problem.
Van Gisbergen is currently fourth in the drivers’ championship and will fly back to Australia soon in order to race at the NTI Townsville 500 this coming weekend.