Lucas Oil's Shane van Gisbergen will celebrate his 100th round in V8 Supercars this weekend at Ipswich’s Queensland Raceway (QR), and expects the front-running pace to continue.
The New Zealander has been the man on the move at the past two rounds in Darwin and Townsville, having chased down his opponents in thrilling race conclusions at both events.
He has now climbed to fourth in the drivers' standings, with more progress expected at his 100th V8 Supercars round.
Van Gisbergen made his debut as a 17-year old at the now-defunct circuit Oran Park in 2007, and has gone on to take the sport by storm with five Championship race victories and four at the Australian Grand Prix.
The star driver joined Lucas Oil-powered TEKNO Autosports Holden team last year, and bookended the season with wins at two of the year’s biggest races – the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, and the Sydney 500.
He backed that up with a win at home this year at Pukekohe, and almost clean-swept the Australian Grand Prix with three crushing victories.
The 25-year-old also added another feather to his cap last weekend, competing in the Spa 24-hour race in Belgium.
While Van Gisbergen didn’t get a lap in the race, with his teammate Tim Mullen crashing heavily in the early stages – he was impressed with the event.
“It was fantastic, and to get to drive at a great track like Spa-Francorchamps was a really cool thing,” Van Gisbergen said.
“The race itself was one of the worst experiences I’ve had, waiting to see if Tim was OK after his crash. It was really tough to watch.”
Van Gisbergen is now raring to go at Ipswich, with his TEKNO team having made some improvements to the Lucas Oil/VIP Petfoods Commodore during a one-day pre-enduro test at QR last week.
The Coates Hire Ipswich 400 will follow the SuperSprint format, with three races totalling 400km. There will be two 100km races on Saturday, and a 200km feature on Sunday – all run on the soft tyre.
Shane van Gisbergen, #97 VIP Petfoods/Lucas Oil Holden VF Commodore:
“The 100th round statistic doesn’t really mean that much to me at this point in my career, that’s more for looking back on when I retire, but it’s been a fantastic few years for me in the main game.
“I’m feeling happy with how the season is going so far. We had a positive test at Queensland Raceway last week, but the track is quite different between testing and racing as there are so many more cars and classes on it.
“The last couple of rounds have been great, with the team and I moving up in the points, so hopefully we can keep that momentum going.
“QR normally makes for good racing, and with the grid on the soft tyre I think we will see some different strategies that should make it exciting.”