Kiwi sensation Shane van Gisbergen gets his first crack at the Australian V8 Supercar series at Sydney’s Oran Park this weekend, starting with official practice today.
August 17, 2007, 10am. Teenaged motor racing sensation Shane van Gisbergen today takes the biggest step so far in his fledgling but meteoric career when he heads on to the Oran Park racetrack near Sydney for the first V8 Supercar practice session.
The 18-year-old from Manukau City will drive the Team Kiwi Racing (TKR) Ford Falcon at Oran Park and for the rest of 2007 and 2008.
Van Gisbergen, making his first start in the hard-fought Australian series, will drive a Stone Brothers Racing-built Ford.
Van Gisbergen has had a busy three weeks since signing with TKR.
"The last few weeks have just been amazing,” he said. “To dream about being a V8 Supercar driver and then to be provided the opportunity is so exciting and even more so to be in the All Black Kiwi car.
"I’m no longer a student so I can concentrate fulltime on (racing).”
In testing at Queensland Raceway this week, he completed 120 laps in his new Ford. His best times were only fractionally slower than Stone Brothers’ driver Russell Ingall’s.
“(Van Gisbergen) was quick, surprisingly so to be fair because it’s been a steep learning curve,” said TKR boss David John.
John says he realises the young kiwi will be up against it at Oran Park.
“Testing is one thing but being caught up in the rough and tumble will be something else.
“And let’s be fair that there will be plenty of battled-hardened Australians who won’t like the thought of a young kid from New Zealand having a crack at them.
“It will be a baptism of fire for Shane but we know that he is going to be around for the long haul in