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Van Gisbergen’s insight into McLaughlin’s world

SHANE van Gisbergen has revealed the valuable opportunity he was granted to sit in on a Scott McLaughlin simulator session ahead of their Indianapolis Motor Speedway doubleheader.

McLaughlin will race on the famous venue’s road course in IndyCar this Saturday (American time) before van Gisbergen follows suit the next day in the NASCAR Cup Series.

McLaughlin has five prior starts on the Indy road course for a best result of fourth place, achieved roughly this time last year.

“Yesterday he was at the simulator when I was,” van Gisbergen told media overnight.

“They invited me in to sit in on his session and I got to listen for a bit and watch how he was driving and that side of things.

“It was very cool to see and it’s awesome to be in a similar world to him again.

“We went to lunch on my last trip and he was just so encouraging to come over here and give it a crack. It’s awesome to be around him again.

“I haven’t seen an IndyCar race since they were in Surfers (Paradise) in 2008, so it’s going to be awesome to go watch him and Scott Dixon race as well.”

He’s set to get an especially close look this weekend, thanks to McLaughlin.

“Obviously this weekend they’re on Saturday after our qualifying. They have invited me to go and watch the race on the pitbox which will be awesome and go cheer him on and Scott Dixon as well,” said van Gisbergen.

“It’s just cool to be a part of it. I’ve obviously watched IndyCar so much the last couple of years cheering him on and that series looks awesome, how competitive it is.

“Those guys are at the top of their game and looking forward to seeing a bit how that world works as well.”

Shane van Gisbergen’s #91 Camaro. Pic: Supplied

Van Gisbergen has also caught up for lunch in the States with fellow Supercars star Brodie Kostecki, who will make his Cup Series debut at Indianapolis (as will F1 podium finisher and World Endurance Championship ace Kamui Kobayashi).

Before the Cup Series race, van Gisbergen will dabble in the oval space with a cameo in the third-tier NASCAR Truck Series for Niece Motorsports.

That will come at nearby Indianapolis Raceway Park, a track which fellow Supercars champion turned NASCAR race winner Marcos Ambrose has provided some early tips on.

“Marcos Ambrose sent me a whole list of stuff last night; he has obviously got experience at that track but he has gone through exactly what I’m going through, transitioning into the ovals,” said van Gisbergen.

“So all of the advice he has sent me, it’s a lot to digest and take in, but hopefully all that advice helps.

“His biggest thing was, at three o’clock on Friday the track is going to be completely different to racing at nine o’clock at night and under lights, so have just got to be adaptable and not get frustrated when it’s hot and slick during the day and keep building up and learning.

“Obviously you’re going to be in a pack learning, it looks like it’s pretty close and tight racing around there, so it is going to be tough to get in your own air and feel comfortable.

“Expectations-wise and pressure, I don’t have much on myself, but obviously I hope it goes well and I’d love to be there at the end completing all of the laps and going out of it straight, learning as much as I can.”

With Will Brown lined up to replace him at Triple Eight, the coast is clear for van Gisbergen to make a permanent switch to the US in 2024.

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