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Trackhouse Racing has announced that their Project 91 car will be part of the field at the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series street race in Chicago. However, for the first time in its 3 races, it won’t be F1 legend Kimi Raikkonen behind the wheel. Instead, it’ll be 3-time Supercars Champion Shane van Gisbergen.
If you’re unfamiliar with Supercars Championship, it’s based in Australia and uses touring cars loaded with V8 engines. I always thought it feels like a lovechild between NASCAR and Formula 1. Someone who knows more about it than me would probably tell you otherwise, but that was my take.
Anyway, van Gisbergen is the guy in the Supercar Championship these days. The New Zealander took home the title in 2016, 2021, and 2022.
“I can honestly say I have dreamed about an opportunity in NASCAR, but really never thought it would become a reality,” van Gisbergen said in a statement released by Trackhouse Racing.
“I can’t wait to get to the States to meet everyone and prepare for Chicago. It’s NASCAR’s first time on the streets of Chicago so in some ways everyone will be a rookie like me, but I don’t underestimate that it’s going to be a huge challenge.”
He won’t be the first high-profile Supercars driver to make an appearance stateside. Multiple IndyCar race-winner Scott McLaughlin — a fellow Kiwi — made a name for himself in that series before switching to IndyCar.
Van Gisbergen Could Have Himself A Day On The Chicago Street Circuit
The team seems pleased with how Project 91 has been going. Its aim from the start was to bring big-name drivers from other disciplines and let them try their hand in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“We have been very pleased with the fan reaction to Kimi’s participation the last two seasons,” Twam owner Justin Marks said in a statement.
“I’ll concede the American racing fan might not be as familiar with Shane as they are with Kimi but if you talk with anyone in Australia, New Zealand and that part of the world they will tell you he is one of the most talented drivers on the planet. He’s used to street racing in heavy cars and I think everyone will be very impressed with his performance.”
Marks brings up a great point. Of all the drivers in the field, van Gisbergen might be showing up in Chicago with the most relevant experience.
Couple that with Trackhouse’s habit of bringing some fast cars to the track every weekend (which Ross Chastain has a habit of binning), and the Kiwi could have himself one hell of a weekend at NASCAR’s first-ever street race.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle
One CommentLeave a Reply
Please stop calling it NASCAR.. The Hueytown Gang is LONG gone.. what we have now is some weird hollywood/trans/freak crap… Hopefully, like MMA did to boxing, there will be a revival of “stock car racing” by some outlaws with a “screaming 350 stacked up on their back” (Mel McDaniel for the win!)