Shane van Gisbergen has confirmed his intentions to move to NASCAR in 2024 over the weekend, following his sensational Supercars Race 19 victory in Sydney.
“I don’t know if I’ll be full-time,” he responded when asked if he planned to make the permanent switch. When asked if his goal was to race in NASCAR next year, his response was: “Yes”.
“There’s a lot happening in the background,” he said before reiterating he was determined to do so in a manner that wouldn’t affect Triple Eight’s competitiveness.
“I’m not leaving because of this team. I love this team, and when I leave, I want to make sure there is someone here to replace me that’s going to do a good job in the car.
“You don’t want to leave the team with nothing, scrambling to find someone. I want to leave with the team in a good spot. Hopefully, the team has someone soon.”
Beginning in the lower rungs of NASCAR is seen as an option to familiarise the Kiwi with unfamiliar elements of the sport, something which the likes of Juan Pablo Montoya and Marcos Ambrose did when they switched to the series.
“When I study it, Marcos [Ambrose] did three years before he went to Cup full-time. [Juan Pablo] Montoya was pretty much a full season as well. Nobody has ever gone [straight] into Cup.
“And I have no illusion that those ovals are going to be easy. It’s going to take a lot of time to learn. I don’t have a plan. Hopefully I’ll work it out when I’m over there.”
Triple Eight Race Engineering has further thrown their support behind the Kiwi, with team manager Mark Dutton backing up Jamie Whincup’s comments from earlier this month that they wouldn’t get in his way if he wanted to make the switch.
“Shane is a team-mate, and obviously, we want him to stay, but we wouldn’t ever think of running a guilt trip or anything to try and stop him from this next step,” he said.
“This is not leaving down pitlane. This is not going to the opposition. This is an amazing opportunity, and whichever way it goes, we’ll be totally supporting.”
Van Gisbergen’s dissatisfaction with Supercars was further apparent over the weekend in Sydney after the Kiwi copped a controversial 5-second penalty in the opener for contact on Will Brown.
When asked about the penalty today after qualifying on pole, his reply was, “I agree with what Cam said,” seemingly referencing an explosive radio message broadcast from the Tickford Mustang driver where he said, “What the f**k is wrong with this sport,” before adding, “They wonder why all their drivers want to f**en leave them.”
Van Gisbergen will venture with Supercars rival Brodie Kostecki to compete in the NASCAR Cup round on the Indianapolis Road Course on August 14, his second NASCAR outing following his historic victory on debut in Chicago.