Shane van Gisbergen is planning to ditch Supercars to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2024.
The three-time Supercars champion enjoyed the perfect debut on the streets of Chicago as a wildcard entry, winning in his first start with Trackhouse Racing.
Since then, speculation has been rampant that the double Bathurst 1000 winner will make the move to the United States in 2024 amid a flurry of options. Now, the Kiwi has confirmed that’s all but a formality.
Speaking after the latest round of the Supercars season, the Sydney SuperNight at Sydney Motorsport Park, van Gisbergen was prompted by comments made by team boss Jamie Whincup that he’d like a decision made by the Auckland-born driver soon.
“There’s obviously a lot happening in the background,” said van Gisbergen.
“I’m not leaving because of this team. I love this team. When I leave, I want to make sure there’s 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.
“There are a lot of good drivers here signed up. I want to leave with the team in a good spot. Hopefully the team has someone soon.”
Asked whether that meant he was planning to race in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2024, van Gisbergen offered a simple “yes” in response.
That came with a caveat, however – “I don’t know if I’ll be full-time,” he said.
Garth Tander, a Supercars champion and multiple Bathurst 1000 winner, explained that van Gisbergen’s move to NASCAR might mean he has to compete in second- or third-tier competitions to be eligible to race in the Cup Series on ovals.
While van Gisbergen’s experience on road courses and street circuits in Supercars gave him right of passage to race in the Cup Series in downtown Chicago, he would need to prove he is capable on ovals before taking on the top class.
“He won’t be racing NASCAR Cup full-time because he’s not actually licensed to be able to race on the superspeedways,” said Tander on Fox Sports’ coverage.
“He’ll have to go through a part-time program if he is over there and get through the relevant licensing process and run in the lower category car – like the Super3 or Super2 if you like, what we have here in Australia – before he can run in the outright Cup championship.
“If he is over there full-time next year it won’t be full-time in Cup, he’ll have to jump through a few hoops.”
Van Gisbergen is thought to have multiple offers on the table to race in NASCAR next year.
Should he decide to leave, there are a few immediate options in terms of a replacement.
Those include Triple Eight Race Engineering team boss Jamie Whincup, who retired from full-time competition at the end of 2021.
The team also has Richie Stanaway in its arsenal. He raced full-time in Supercars for several years before a brief retirement.
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