Shane van Gisbergen has enjoyed an incredible 2016 season. In addition to claiming his first Supercars title (beating a 6x champion in the process) the New Zealander won the Bathurst 12 hour and the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup in Europe. To cap off the year, van Gisbergen was also voted “Driver’s Driver” by his peers and featured strongly in Autosport’s Top 50 Drivers of 2016.
SVG is undoubtedly a huge talent but he can also be a controversial figure. His aggressive driving style has angered some who feel he pushes the boundaries of fairness. David Reynolds in particular has said “there’s not a lot of respect out there for him with the way he goes about his business”. However, van Gisbergen’s approach to racing makes him a favourite amongst many fans and this collection of videos looks at some of the reasons why he can be so exciting to watch.
Shane van Gisbergen’s Twitter bio is just “race everything” and one of the reasons he connects to fans who love motorsport is that he simply loves it himself. In addition to winning the Supercars Championship in 2016, van Gisbergen also competed in the European Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup (which he won), the Bathurst 12 Hour (which he won) the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, the Australian GT Championship and the Australian Endurance Championship. Not bad.
In previous years, Shane has also mixed his Supercar duties with races in the NZ Super Tourers Championship, the United Sportscar Championship, the Highlands 101, the NZ Endurance Championship, The World Time Attack Challenge, Formula First NZ, various historic events, and even the Pop Volkner Memorial Feature Kart Race in Mt Wellington.
Next year SVG will turn his attention to the IMSA series in the USA.
Impressively, Shane is quick in any machinery which means he isn’t just making up the numbers across different categories. He took provisional pole at the 2016 Spa 24 Hour despite missing the pre-race test session and when he made a guest appearance in the Australian Carrera Cup he charged past ten cars in one lap.
SIGNALLING TO OTHER DRIVERS
Van Gisbergen waved at one of his rivals in that video and that sort of gesture wasn’t a one-off. Last year he also gave David Reynolds a cheeky ‘thumbs up’ as he nailed an overtaking manoeuvre into a 200kph corner.
Having done some competitive drifting, van Gisbergen enjoys a good victory celebration, but he also puts on a similar show for fans during routine in-laps back to the pits and unproductive test days.
Red Bull Racing have embraced van Gisbergen’s sideways style and have customised a Supercar to cater for exactly that.
DRIVING ON THE GRASS
Although most drivers seek out puddles to cool their wet tyres on a drying track surface, SVG took it a step further during 2015 and actually dropped his wheels on the grass. Not only did he try this at Sydney Motorsport Park but he did the same thing down Conrod Straight at Bathurst – one of the fastest parts of any racetrack in Australia.
RELAXED BEHIND THE WHEEL
In-car cameras have previously caught Shane resting his hands on the steering wheel down straights as if he was waiting at traffic lights, and they’ve also captured this rather relaxed way of changing down gears with the back of his hand.
SVG is also relaxed enough behind the wheel to pay close attention to the big screens around the circuit. On the last lap at Pukekohe (in the lead!) he had the presence of mind to ask why his Dad was on TV.
More than anything else, van Gisbergen is an assertive racer who is capable of producing exciting battles like this.