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Wednesday, April 24, 2024


SHANE van Gisbergen has confirmed he has held preliminary discussions about making a NASCAR debut.

Trackhouse Racing Team founder Justin Marks recently indicated via social media that he had reached out to van Gisbergen, who later this week will make his World Rally Championship debut at the Repco Rally New Zealand.

Trackhouse has launched a Project 91 program targeted at bringing motorsport superstars into the NASCAR scene.

Project 91 debuted last month with 2007 Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen at the wheel, and Marks has talked openly about expanding its efforts for next season.

Leading crew chief James Small and two-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner Marcos Ambrose have led calls for van Gisbergen to be granted an opportunity, and now it’s clear the idea might not be all that farfetched.

“It all depends on our calendar,” van Gisbergen told Wide World of Sports of a potential cameo.

“Our calendar comes out so late these days, so I just need to wait and see what our calendar does. But yeah, I would love to do it.

“We (Marks and I) did speak, but it’s all dependent on our calendar and what races I can do and if there’s time to get over there and back without upsetting Supercars.”

Kimi Raikkonen in action at Watkins Glen. Pic: Project 91

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship calendar is set to be released around the time of the Bathurst 1000, running across October 6-9.

Next year’s NASCAR schedule has already come out, featuring 36 championship events plus the annual All-Star Race and two pre-season rounds.

One has particularly caught van Gisbergen’s attention: the series’ inaugural visit to the streets of Chicago on July 2 (local time).

“I think they’ve got the Chicago street circuit for the first time next year as well,” he said.

“A street circuit would suit me, I reckon.

“That would be good as well because it’s a new track for everyone, so certainly that would help me get up to speed if everyone else is learning as well.

“That would be a good one, but let’s see.”

Other non-oval options include Circuit of The Americas (March 26), Sonoma Raceway (June 11), Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course (August 13) and Watkins Glen (August 20).

“Obviously, they’ve got great equipment – the Trackhouse cars and team have been going really well,” added van Gisbergen.

“I’d love to have a go. It was cool watching Kimi do it as well.”

Back in Australia, van Gisbergen is charging towards his third Supercars title, sitting 525 points clear of the field with just three rounds (maximum 900 points) remaining.

He will pair up with Garth Tander for the Repco Bathurst 1000 in less than a fortnight’s time.

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