Despite rumors suggesting an early departure to NASCAR, Shane van Gisbergen, the talented New Zealand driver, has reiterated his commitment to the Supercars series for the 2024 season. Van Gisbergen recently made headlines by securing a historic victory in his debut Cup Series race on the streets of Chicago, becoming the first debutant to achieve such a feat in six decades.
Following his remarkable achievement, speculations grew about his potential activation of a get-out clause in his contract with Triple Eight Race Engineering, enabling him to compete full-time in the United States as early as 2025.
This prompted Team Principal Jamie Whincup to suggest that van Gisbergen might depart earlier, starting Triple Eight to search for a replacement. However, the three-time Supercars champion has clarified that he is not seeking an exit at the end of 2023.
When asked about the possibility of returning to NASCAR, van Gisbergen responded to the media in Townsville, stating, "While my phone has been buzzing with interest, I haven't received any concrete offers yet. I focus on continuing here next year, but I find Jamie's comments intriguing.
Although we haven't had a chance to speak yet."
Navigating NASCAR's Unique Terrain
Van Gisbergen's debut in NASCAR's first-ever street race placed him in a unique position, as his rivals were less familiar with the discipline, except for Jenson Button.
Despite his impressive performance, the New Zealander acknowledged the challenges he would face on an oval track, stating, "Oval racing is an entirely different world. I have no illusions about immediately running at the front; that would take time.
However, participating in six to eight road courses in the coming years is appealing." During his NASCAR debut, van Gisbergen drove Trackhouse Racing's third entry, the 'Project91' Camaro, which aims to introduce international talent to the series.
While no confirmed plans for additional races in 2023 exist, Trackhouse co-owner Justin Marks indicated that van Gisbergen is favored for future opportunities. Marks explained, "We want to ensure that Project91 doesn't detract from our two full-time entries or undermine their performance.
I believe three entries are our limit for now. Shane will likely secure that seat if we expand to a third full-time team. He performed incredibly well today, and winning certainly opens doors for more opportunities." As van Gisbergen remains committed to Supercars for 2024, fans eagerly anticipate witnessing his continued success in the series while watching his potential future endeavors in NASCAR.