NASCAR Cup SeriesV8 Supercars

Shane van Gisbergen in talks with Trackhouse about NASCAR Cup start

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Credit: Mark Horsburgh/Red Bull Content Pool

Shane van Gisbergen is on the verge of winning his third Supercars Championship, and is eager to bring his strong résumé to America in 2023. In an interview with Nine’s Wide World of Sports, he revealed he has talked with Trackhouse Racing Team owner Justin Marks about making his NASCAR Cup Series début.

In the decade since his Supercars career was seemingly at a standstill, he has become one of the series’ top drivers. After joining Triple Eight Engineering in 2016, he has won fifty-two times along with a pair of championships that year and in 2021. His title defence has only further established his dominance with nineteen victories and a very comfortable points lead with three rounds remaining.

While van Gisbergen intends to continue his time in Supercars after 2022, he has started to express interest in other racing opportunities. This weekend will see his début in the World Rally Championship at Rally New Zealand, consummating his increasing participation in the discipline in domestic competition. He has also invariably competed in America in the past, most notably attempting the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona from 2014 to 2017 with a runner-up class finish in 2015.

“[I]t’s all dependent on our calendar and what races I can do and if there’s time to get over there and back without upsetting Supercars,” said van Gisbergen. “I’d love to do a road course and have a go, for sure, it’s just getting the right opportunity.”

NASCAR will be a new foray for the Kiwi, but one that became more viable with the introduction of the Next Gen car, which shares numerous characteristics with the Supercars. The new vehicle’s rollout also coincided with NASCAR’s growing embrace of road courses, with the 2023 Cup schedule set to feature six including Circuit of the Americas and Watkins Glen International: COTA was on the Supercars calendar in 2013, where van Gisbergen finished twenty-sixth, fifth, and third in three races, while he placed fourth in class at WGI’s 2017 IMSA round. Van Gisbergen also showed intrigue in the new Chicago Street Race scheduled for 2 July.

“A street circuit would suit me, I reckon,” he continued. “That would be good as well because it’s a new track for everyone, so certainly that would help me get up to speed if everyone else is learning as well. That would be a good one, but let’s see.”

Van Gisbergen is not the only Supercars driver to express interest in stock cars recently as Brodie Kostecki is also eyeing Cup starts in 2023, while former champion-turned-IndyCar driver Scott McLaughlin is frequently teased as a potential Cup entry now that he has settled down in America full-time. Crossover between the two disciplines is rare but has bore fruit, most notably with two-time Cup winner Marcos Ambrose.

Trackhouse has enjoyed tremendous success on road courses in 2022 with Ross Chastain and Daniel Suárez scoring their maiden Cup victories at Circuit of the Americas and Sonoma, respectively. Should a start be arranged for van Gisbergen, he will take part in the team’s PROJECT91 programme, which fields the #91 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for international racing stars. PROJECT91’s only race of 2022 came at Watkins Glen with ex-F1 star Kimi Räikkönen.

“Obviously, they’ve got great equipment,” commented van Gisbergen. “The Trackhouse cars and team have been going really well. I’d love to have a go. It was cool watching Kimi do it as well.”

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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