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SVG’s Growth Impresses The Boss

Shane ‘SVG’ van Gisbergen has been given the nod by boss Roland ‘RD’ Dane for his impressive start to the 2020 Supercars season, and his personal and professional development over his four-year tenure at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team.

Speaking on Greg Rust’s ‘Rusty’s Garage’ podcast, RD was impressed by SVG’s work outside of the race car which has ultimately seen his results on track exceed expectations.

“Shane has come into the year more committed to the preparation side of his racing and is looking after himself more. He’s realised that he is old now, and the natural fitness you have as a 20-year-old isn’t there, suddenly you have to work harder when you’re 30 – it’s just part of growing up we’ve all been through that,” RD said.

Who you calling old, RD?

SVG has had a roller coaster start to the 2020 season. He claimed a podium in Saturday’s race one in Adelaide, and pole for Sunday’s race two before succumbing to a broken lower control arm after leading the majority of the race, ultimately forcing him to park the #97 Commodore at turn seven, three laps prior to the chequered flag.

The speed continued into the Australian Grand Prix, with SVG set to start race one of the Melbourne 400 from pole before the event was ultimately postponed until a later in the year.

SVG’s growth is credited to one main contributor, says RD.

“Since he’s been with Triple Eight, Shane has got more confident, a little less shy and better at handling people. He’s also got more confident in his own ability and rightly so.

“If he wasn’t one of the top three drivers in the category, he’d be the top data man in the category.”

Maybe data engineer should be SVG’s calling post-Supercars career?

“His understanding of data, his reading of data, the way he processes it and his ability to explain it to a third party, be that an amateur driver for instance, is superb.

“His current data engineer, Martin Short, was a very good Formula Ford racer. Martin’s claim to fame is that he beat Scotty McLaughlin back in the day – I think that’s Shane’s screensaver on his laptop.”

You’re digressing, RD…

“But yes, Shane has a massively high understanding of the data side of the sport.”

SVG will look to capitalise on his season thus far when the Supercars season gets back on track in June, with the Supercars All-Stars eSeries to fill the void during this period.

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Here to Stay

Hey Bulls fans! Guess who’s named an unchanged driver line-up for 2021?

Here at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, we’re excited to announce that both our championship-winning drivers Jamie ‘JDub’ Whincup and Shane ‘SVG’ van Gisbergen have penned contract extensions to steer our team through to end-2021.

Yes, we’re all just as excited as you are!

For JDub, the passion for racing in the main game and the burning desire to compete for a record eighth drivers’ title was a resounding factor in the 37-year-old’s decision to stay put.

“My addiction for racing, speed and trying to beat my mates to the finish line started when I was seven years old,” Jamie said while reflecting on his decision.

“Any thought of finishing full-time driving this year doesn’t sit well with me.”

Across his coveted career, JDub has notched a staggering 118 wins and 208 podiums over his 496-race tenure, with his last win claimed at the 2019 Newcastle season finale.

“I feel I have plenty to offer this sport from behind the wheel.

“While my full focus is on this year’s championship and delivering results for our teammates, sponsors and Red Bull Holden fan base, it’s great to know that all the fun will continue well into 2021.

“I thank everyone at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team for the trust in me to showcase your amazing work and commitment in 2021.”

For SVG, there was no second guessing where he wanted to call home for the next two seasons. Having joined the team in 2016, the year he claimed his inaugural Drivers’ Championship, SVG expressed his excitement about what the future holds for the team and the category.

“It’s been an awesome few years with the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, and honestly there wasn’t much thought put into extending my contract for a few more years,” SVG said.

“I absolutely love this place and all the people in it, and the future looks exciting with the changes that look to be put in place.”

Having made his main game debut in 2007, SVG has claimed 36 race wins and 106 podiums, including 3 Adelaide 500 titles.

“I feel Triple Eight are the right team to help me challenge for the Drivers’ Championship again, and obviously with Jamie extending his contract, we’re hopeful we can reclaim the Teams’ Championship.

“It’s always good to have someone like JDub by your side. We get along well together and he’s still as capable of being the fastest driver on the grid.

“It’s amazing to think that his driving is still at his peak level, so I think it’s a fantastic decision for him to keep competing for a few more years.”

Both JDub and SVG will be looking to kick-start their 2020 title challenge at this weekend’s Adelaide 500. Race 1 of the Supercars Championship kicks off Saturday 22 February.

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Shane van Gisbergen extends contract

Shane van Gisbergen has extended his contract to stay with the Red Bull Holden Racing Team for an additional year, which will see the reigning Supercars champion remain with the squad until at least the end of the 2019 season.

The New Zealander joined Triple Eight Race Engineering, which competes under the Red Bull Holden Racing Team banner in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, at the beginning of 2016 and went on to win the title in his debut year with the team.

“I’m really happy to be staying with the Red Bull Holden Racing Team for another year,” said van Gisbergen. “The first two seasons have been great, especially with the championship win last year.

“I definitely feel I’ve come on a lot over the last couple of years and Triple Eight is a great place to be. I’ve got an awesome team around me and I’m enjoying racing more than ever, so it made sense to keep that going.

“With the Next-Gen Commodore coming next year and the V6 twin-turbo engine in 2019, it’s a really exciting time to be part of the factory Holden team.”

Van Gisbergen made his Supercars debut in 2007, going on to claim his first race win in 2011. He now has 23 championship race wins to his name, as well as 19 pole positions and 75 podium finishes.

Triple Eight Managing Director Roland Dane is thrilled to extend the strong relationship with the 28-year-old driver who has added competitive depth to the team.

“Shane has developed enormously since joining Triple Eight at the beginning of 2016 and we’re looking forward to seeing what we will achieve together in the years to come.

“We never had a moment of hesitation in extending our contract with Shane, he has proved his ability both on and off the track and he settled in to the Triple Eight way of life very quickly.”

With four race wins this year, van Gisbergen is currently placed fifth in the overall championship standings, just 189 points behind leader and fellow Red Bull Holden Racing teammate Jamie Whincup.

Hailing from the south of Auckland, Van Gisbergen will this week race in front of a home crowd as the championship heads across the water for the penultimate round at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe Park Raceway.

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2016: The year of #97

The 2016 Supercars season may be run, won and done, but it’s still all systems go here at Red Bull Racing Australia HQ.

As the crew disappears for hours at a time to debrief, prebrief and whatever-else-brief, it feels as though we’re mid-year and prepping for the enduros. But for the guy who masterminded the #97 Holden’s championship victory, sights are firmly set on the ensuing Christmas break.

during the Castrol EDGE Townsville 400, in Townsville, Australia, July 08, 2016.

“It’s in the process of sinking in,” says Grant “Shippy” McPherson of the year that was. “The Sunday night celebrations and Monday night gala went a long way to making the effort sink in, but I think over the break I probably will almost try to switch off from work and racing for a few weeks and just recharge the batteries.”

Shane van Gisbergen wasn’t the only one to claim a maiden championship on the streets of Homebush. Shippy, Race Engineer for car #97, had come close before, as SVG had, but it wasn’t until the pair teamed up that it all clicked and the magic happened.

But that’s not to say it was an easy ride. A handful of errors in the first half of the season meant Shane was further down the championship leader board than he could have been and, although it’s a damn long season, there was work to do.

“The lowlight of the year was probably tripping up on the oil at Tassie. We should have banked 150 points there and had back-to-back race wins, but instead we walked away with doughnuts on Sunday,” Shippy says.

Luckily, though, those #97forlife boys know how to bounce back better than anyone. “Everyone in that group gets on really well and I think it’s always a very upbeat group of people,” he says of the whole crew behind Shane’s car, including SVG himself.

during the Gala Dinner, in Sydney, Australia, December 05, 2016.

“We never get too disappointed by results, we’re always there for each other, pumping each other up, making sure that we’re ready for the next race. Everyone on the crew does a great job, reliability was perfect this year, so I think when you’ve got a great group of people together, it’s easier to deliver results as a unit.

“But we had no expectations of winning on our first attempt as a group.”

So what was the turning point? When did the domination that we saw in the back half of the year really click into place?

“That second test day was pivotal for us,” Shippy declares. “The first test we sort of just got Shane comfortable in the car and got comfortable working together, but we needed to do some race meetings to work out where our strengths and weaknesses were. Those first few rounds gave us an indication there. That next test, we got to work on those weaknesses and from there we were running.”

Welcoming SVG into the group was a big step for not only him, coming from a small team of 12 people and one car, but also Triple Eight. Having had the same two drivers for the last 10 years, adapting to a newbie behind the wheel was likely to have teething issues, but there’s no time for drama in this joint.

“I think the only real area that Shane probably received the extra pressure was the extra sponsor and media commitments. The larger team and personnel probably only worked in his favour. I don’t think that put any more pressure on him to perform. He knew his job was just to do his best in the car and he should be proud of what he’s done this year.”

And of course the season wasn’t without learning curves for Shippy himself and the entire T8 squad: “The challenges lay in a combination of getting the car right for Shane and working with the other engineers to get all three cars to be in front of everyone else.

“That was the priority – get our team to the front and then we could scrap it out for one, two and three. To me that was probably the biggest challenge and I’m very proud of how we all stuck together.”

Having ticked more boxes this year than Shane’s done burnouts (well, almost!), it begs the question of what there is left to improve in 2017.

Shane Van Gisbergen of Red Bull Racing Australia during the ITM Auckland SuperSprint, at the Pukokohe, Pukokohe, , November 05, 2016.

“We finished the year obviously with a good qualifying car with the pole award and a good race car with eight wins,” he says proudly, “so it’s not so much that there’s any car characteristics that we’re really looking to improve.

“The tyres are changing and that’s going to be a big shake-up and we just need to make sure we react and develop faster than everyone else.”

As much as Shippy would be happy to reminisce about the season that was for hours on end, we need to let him run off into the Christmas sunset to enjoy his well-deserved (and much-needed) holiday.

Parting words?

“Next year’s going to be a big one, I just need to make sure I’m ready for it.”