Shane van Gisbergen to leave Australia and run NASCAR development program for Trackhouse in 2024
By JENNA FRYER
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Shane van Gisbergen's expected move to NASCAR will be in a development program driving in all three national series for Trackhouse Racing.
The New Zealand native won his NASCAR debut race on the downtown streets of Chicago driving for Trackhouse in early July. He said after the win wanted to make a full-time move to American stock cars and confirmed his intent later that month following a V8 Supercars race in Australia.
Trackhouse has now committed to build a program around the 34-year-old from Auckland to run select races in the the Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series. He'll also run some other lower-level races.
“This announcement means so many things to me,” van Gisbergen said. “I’m proud of what I have achieved here in Australia, but I’m excited by this new chapter in my career and the opportunities that it brings.”
Van Gisbergen is a three-time Supercars champion. His Triple Eight Race Engineering team, which competes under the Red Bull Racing brand, has said it would let van Gisbergen leave for NASCAR.
Since his win at Chicago, van Gisbergen made an additional Cup Series start and finished 10th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last month. He also finished 19th running in the Truck Series race at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. It was van Gisbergen's first race on an oval.
Trackhouse Racing team owner Justin Marks said van Gisbergen’s 2024 racing schedule will be tailored to provide him with a variety of NASCAR experience.
“This is going to be a tremendous challenge for Shane but he is a tremendous driver as we have all seen,” Marks said. “Next year will be about getting him acclimated to oval-track racing, superspeedways, 1.5-mile tracks and everything he has never experienced in his career. It’s obviously going to be a learning process, but we think Shane will perform quite well.”
Van Gisbergen joins a growing list of New Zealand motorsports stars landing high-profile racing jobs around the world. Liam Lawson recently made his Formula One debut and Scott Dixon is the veteran of three Kiwi drivers in IndyCar. Dixon is a six-time IndyCar champion from Auckland who won three of the final four races of the IndyCar season, and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Marcus Armstrong, won IndyCar top rookie honors despite not running the five oval races.
Scott McLaughlin finished third in the final IndyCar standings in his third IndyCar season, where he moved after winning three V8 Supercars titles. McLaughlin's move to IndyCar opened the way for van Gisbergen to dominate the series.
Earl Bamber, another Kiwi, drives for Ganassi's sports car program.
“There’s a lot of talent from New Zealand. It’s impressive to see for such a small country,” Dixon said after winning IndyCar's season finale on Sunday. "Obviously the racing heritage is strong down there. There’s a lot of support. I think the hardest part for a lot of us, New Zealand is a small country, so funding is very difficult. I think the right people, the likes of Peter Johnson and Craig Harris, the Giltraps, have been helping a lot of people, even with Shane van Gisbergen, it creates a lot of hype.
It’s great to see that some of these guys are getting the chance."
AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing
Updated September 14, 2023