Top 50 Drivers of 2022
Topic

Top 50 Drivers of 2022

Autosport 2022 Top 50: #10 Shane van Gisbergen

1st in Supercars

Autosport 2022 Top 50: #10 Shane van Gisbergen

Van Gisbergen took his brilliance to new heights in 2022. In Supercars he romped to a record-breaking 21 wins for the season, including the Bathurst 1000.

That level of dominance would usually be tedious but, given he started from pole just seven times, there was plenty of showmanship on offer. He would consistently run long in races, take the undercut on the chin, and then charge his way back to the front with incredible passing moves.

Top 10: Ranking the best Supercars drivers of 2022

He also debuted at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and made a splash in rallying, scoring a remarkable debut podium in WRC2 in his native New Zealand.

How the “animal” racer made the difference in Supercars

It’s never been harder to pass in Supercars. The high-downforce Gen2 cars create unprecedented amounts of dirty air that cooks front tyres once you’re within roughly a second of another car. Shane van Gisbergen knows it. He complains about it, often. But he also continues to just go out there and pass other drivers anyway.

Andrew Edwards already knew van Gisbergen was a relentless racer when he joined Triple Eight as his race engineer this year. He’d been watching him from the BJR garage since 2007. But even then, seeing it up close was eye-opening.

“I’ve been lucky to work with some really good drivers,” Edwards tells Autosport. “They’ve all got talent and feel and good feedback and things like that. But what really sets Shane apart is his ability to race. And his ability to pass.

Racecraft is a van Gisbergen strong suit, and made the 2022 Supercars season enjoyable to watch even amid his domination

Racecraft is a van Gisbergen strong suit, and made the 2022 Supercars season enjoyable to watch even amid his domination

Photo by: Edge Photographics

“That’s the thing that lets you do different strategies and recover when others can’t. That comes from having good capacity left to make decisions. And it’s his attitude in that moment too. He... for lack of a better word, he’s an animal in that moment. He loves the chase and he thrives with the challenge.

“Just when you think he can’t go any faster, if he’s got a sniff of it, he pulls another gear. That’s where I've stood back at times and been so impressed.

“He understands the strategy, too. He can help you complete that. You don’t need to give him much and he understands what’s required of him. I just paint the picture for him, and he knows what needs to happen to help execute it. That’s what works well as a driver and engineer, understanding what’s needed.

“Once he’s got a sniff, he’s on it. It's incredible to see sometimes. This year there’s been a couple in particular where I didn’t think we could win the race from where we were, races like New Zealand. To see that is superhuman. That’s just his pure racecraft.”

If the new Gen3 car delivers on its low-downforce promise, passing will get a lot easier next season. That’s probably not something the drivers who already can’t keep SVG behind will want to think about.

Insight: Which generation will be the biggest winners of Supercars' Gen3 shakeup?

Victory at Bathurst was the icing on the cake for van Gisbergen. Will he be even harder to beat when Supercars introduces Gen3 cars?

Victory at Bathurst was the icing on the cake for van Gisbergen. Will he be even harder to beat when Supercars introduces Gen3 cars?

Photo by: Edge Photographics

shares
comments
Autosport 2022 Top 50: #9 Lando Norris
Previous article

Autosport 2022 Top 50: #9 Lando Norris

Next article

Autosport 2022 Top 50: #11 Joey Logano

Autosport 2022 Top 50: #11 Joey Logano
The 2022 Autosport Awards winner using Esports as a launchpad Plus

The 2022 Autosport Awards winner using Esports as a launchpad

A trail blazed in Esports has inspired a revamp of the annual prize that aims to discover the best young engineering talent. Autosport met Autosport Williams Engineer of the Future winner Michael Preston

General
Jan 18, 2023
The plug in and play stand-ins who got their timing just right Plus

The plug in and play stand-ins who got their timing just right

Nyck de Vries’s Italian GP exploits weren’t the first post-eleventh-hour call-up in motorsport history, and won’t be the last either. Here are some offbeat tales from the past

General
Dec 26, 2022
Porsche’s hopeful Le Mans future meets its illustrious past Plus

Porsche’s hopeful Le Mans future meets its illustrious past

Rising sportscar star Adam Smalley had to pinch himself when offered the chance to drive the car that won the world’s most famous enduro in 1987

Historics
Sep 6, 2022
Why romanticism isn't the key factor in Lola’s racing return Plus

Why romanticism isn't the key factor in Lola’s racing return

The iconic Lola name is being relaunched after it was taken over by new ownership. Part of that reboot is a planned return to racing, though the exact details of this are still to be finalised - though its new owner does have a desire to bring the brand back to the Le Mans 24 Hours. But romanticism doesn't appear to be the driving force behind this renewed project...

General
Jul 14, 2022
Rating the best drivers of the century so far Plus

Rating the best drivers of the century so far

Autosport's Top 50 feature has been a staple of the magazine for the past two decades since its first appearance in 2002. Here are the drivers that have featured most prevalently during that time

General
Jan 7, 2022
The best motorsport moments of 2021 Plus

The best motorsport moments of 2021

Motorsport produced one of its greatest years of all-time in 2021 despite a backdrop of ongoing COVID-19 challenges and an ever-changing racing landscape. Through the non-stop action Autosport has collected the finest moments from the past 12 months to highlight the incredible drama and joy motorsport generates

General
Dec 31, 2021
The racing comeback artists who resurrected long-dormant careers Plus

The racing comeback artists who resurrected long-dormant careers

Making it in motorsport can be tough, and sometimes drivers move elsewhere before their best chance arrives. Here are some of those who made it back

General
Dec 26, 2021
The hidden racing gem attracting ex-F1 heroes Plus

The hidden racing gem attracting ex-F1 heroes

It’s rarely mentioned when it comes to assessing the best national contests, but the Brazilian Stock Car series that reaches its climax this weekend has an ever-growing appeal. Its expanding roster of ex-Formula 1 names has helped to draw in new fans, but it's the closeness of competition that keeps them watching

General
Dec 10, 2021