The last decade of Australian Supercars racing has been dominated by two drivers, three-time champions Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen. McLaughlin has since moved to IndyCar, where he has four wins in less than three years. Van Gisbergen has stayed in Supercars, but he is traveling to the U.S. on an upcoming weekend off to make a surprise NASCAR Cup Series debut.
Trackhouse Racing has announced that Van Gisbergen will race with the team's Project 91 third team at the newly-formed Chicago street circuit on the first weekend of July. It will be van Gisbergen's first-ever NASCAR start, and the first for a driver who came up in Australia's celebrated national touring series since two-time Supercars champion turned NASCAR race winner Marcos Ambrose stepped away from racing in the U.S. after the 2014 season.
Van Gisbergen had been among the biggest names in the Holden stable since 2013, but the shuttering of that domestic Australian brand has led GM's efforts in Supercars to shift to Chevrolet for 2023's Gen 3 rules. That means he already races a Camaro, and one that is fairly similar in design to the Camaro-badged racers used in NASCAR under the Supercars-inspired Next Gen rule set. The New Zealand driver already has three wins through nine Supercars starts this season, plus one very high profile disqualification in the season opener.
The modern Supercars format is built around high-contact races at tight street circuits. NASCAR, by contrast, has never previously run a top-level race at a street circuit. Coupled with his 462 races of experience in cars very similar to the current NASCAR Cup Series racer and van Gisbergen is uniquely qualified to show up to the track ready to contend for a win in his first-ever start. That would be a massive result for everyone, including Trackhouse Racing. The young team has three wins in its short three years of existence, but has not won yet this season and has never finished better than 29th with the Project 91-branded car that has so far only run with Kimi Raikkonen.
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