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HomeNews‘Eye-opening’: SVG's biggest oval racing challenge

‘Eye-opening’: SVG’s biggest oval racing challenge

SHANE van Gisbergen has given insight into the biggest difference he’s encountered between circuit and oval racing.

Van Gisbergen’s start to 2024 has been exclusively on ovals thus far, namely Daytona, Atlanta and Las Vegas.

He defied his relatively minimal oval experience to place third in the Xfinity Series race at Atlanta and is now preparing for this weekend’s NASCAR second-tier stop at Phoenix Raceway.

Appearing on the Happy Hour with Kevin Harvick show, SVG spoke of the art involved.

“I actually watched (2023 Phoenix Xfinity winner) Cole Custer’s onboard last night from the race last year and how he drives and just the way he explores the track,” said the Kiwi.

“It’s probably the biggest difference to circuit racing where you’re trying to be in a rhythm, same line every lap, be consistent; it seems so variable here and the fast line always changes and the track migrates so much.

“That’s the biggest thing, and the way the corners being different, you see Vegas on a map, it looks like both corners are the same – they’re completely different.

“Every track I go to, it’s eye-opening so far.”

In a wide-ranging interview, van Gisbergen opened up on his love of new challenges and the general unknown.

“I love the feeling of uncertainty and being unsure if you’re going to be good at something, and just getting outside the comfort zone,” he said.

“So that feeling of putting my helmet on, like Atlanta qualifying was a pretty good example.

“It’s a track that’s flat out the whole way but my first lap of the place was qualifying, so putting the helmet on ready to go out, I had pretty big adrenaline going, just ‘what’s this going to be like?’

“Going out and doing that lap, that feeling is something that I love doing, just not knowing how it’s going to be tipping into Turn 1 there and trying to hold it flat for the first time.

“That’s a cool feeling. I love doing that.”

Van Gisbergen’s first top-flight NASCAR Cup Series appearance of the season will come later this month at Circuit of the Americas, on March 24.

While he has some prior experience at the Austin venue, including from when Supercars raced there in 2013, he admitted NASCAR’s lack of track limits policing is something he’ll need to get his head around.

“I have struggled on the sim there to be honest with the track limits,” he said.

“Normally we’re trying everything we can to stay within the lines.

“In NASCAR, they’re off the track more than they’re on it – except for the esses, it’s the only part they police. The rest of it seems like everyone just takes the piss and cuts all of the corners and goes out wide.

“It has taken me a lot of adjusting to get to mid-corner and just gas it up and aim off the track. I have spent all my life trying to stay on it.

“It’s very different the way the rules are, but it looks pretty fun… the way the racing is, it’s crazy, and that first corner how everyone just fans out and uses each other as a brake, it looks interesting.”

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