Now that Shane van Gisbergen’s future is clear, it’s about to get a lot more chaotic, too.
“SVG,” the three-time Australian Supercars tour champion, will compete full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2024 with an additional seven Cup Series starts tacked on, Trackhouse Racing and Kaulig Racing partnered to announce on Wednesday. The first of those starts will come in the season-opening United Rentals 300 (Feb. 17, 5 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Daytona International Speedway – one of NASCAR’s most storied, most prominent, and wildest tracks.
The 34-year-old van Gisbergen’s as technically precise and experienced as they come … but his oval acumen is going to need some seasoning. We saw the talent display itself immediately this past season as the street-racing veteran flexed on the Cup Series regulars and claimed the inaugural Chicago Street Race – in his inaugural NASCAR appearance. He later tacked on another top 10 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, making a trip over to Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park for his first Craftsman Truck Series start that weekend as well.
The 19th-place result at IRP stands as his only oval race. In any NASCAR race. Ever.
Daytona, here he comes!
“It being our first race, I don’t really even know how to approach it or what to expect,” van Gisbergen told reporters Thursday evening during a teleconference. “We get a little bit of practice so I can get a feel for the car and the cars around me, but it’s so far removed from everything I’ve ever done. Superspeedways are what I’m most anxious about, I guess, or unsure about what’s going to happen or how the car drives.”
The New Zealand native and soon-to-be Charlotte, North Carolina native “once (he finds a house) with a fence … they don’t have fences here, which is weird,” has been “doing as much as (he) can on iRacing” and plans to be a regular inhabitant of the sim after the New Year to prep for his debut NASCAR campaign.
RELATED: Trackhouse signs SVG for 2024
Instrumental in his preparation, as well, has been reviewing onboard film from one of the series’ superspeedway greats – three-time Daytona 500 champion, Denny Hamlin.
“Normally, (I’d) watch (superspeedway races) and it just looked like cars driving around flat-out, but nowadays, I’m trying to study it as much as I can. And you know, there was a Denny Hamlin onboard from last year’s Talladega race where he had to come back through the field. I’ve been studying that, just kind of seeing how it all works,” he said. ” … watching that, it’s been like a high-speed chess match, but also the lottery in some ways.”
Van Gisbergen is also expected to run the ARCA Menards Series opener at Daytona as well – as part of an Xfinity Series doubleheader – but there’s no question that SVG’s introduction to full-time stock car racing will be trial by fire.
And there’s no question that he’ll be ready for it.