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Van Gisbergen free to make NASCAR move in 2024 - Whincup

Triple Eight boss Jamie Whincup says he won't stand in the way of Shane van Gisbergen switching to NASCAR full-time next season after his winning debut in the Cup Series.

Shane van Gisbergen, Trackhouse Racing, Enhance Health Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

The future of the three-time Supercars champion has been a hot topic for some time, based largely on his dissatisfaction with the new Gen3 cars.

Speculation of a move to the US has now been turbocharged by van Gisbergen's NASCAR victory in Chicago last weekend as part of Trackhouse Racing's Project91 programme.

As it stands, van Gisbergen is under contract with Triple Eight until the end of the 2024 Supercars season, after which he is free to pursue a deal outside of the Aussie series.

However T8 managing director Whincup today admitted that should a NASCAR offer come along for next season, the team won't block its star driver from making the move. 

Speaking to Fox Sports, seven-time Supercars champion driver Whincup said: “He’s only contractually bound to us for next year.

“But me sitting here right now, of course I’m trying to run the business as well as I possibly can, and I need the best drivers – but if any driver, engineer, employee came to me and said, ‘hey, my dream is to go to the other side of the world and do something else’ then I’m not going to stand in their way, am I?

“I want to open up opportunities for all my staff, so we’ll see. I’m sure SVG is just on a wave right now.

“I need him to dial in to this weekend because we’re racing at Townsville for round 6 of our [Supercars] championship, so let’s focus on that first.

“But no doubt we’re going to have some discussions the next month or so and work out what he wants to do.

Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering

Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering

Photo by: Edge Photographics

“He has certainly got my praise, whatever he wants to do, and we’re going to support him all the way."

When asked if that meant van Gisbergen could get out his contract early, Whincup added: “I certainly wouldn’t stand in his way, no.

“Of course there’s contractual things we need to work through, but if someone really wants to go do something else, then I’m certainly not going to stand in his way, that’s for sure."

Van Gisbergen has earned praise from many quarters in NASCAR, including from Chicago poleman Denny Hamlin on the latest episode of his Actions Detrimental podcast. 

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver hailed the Kiwi's efforts in adapting to racing a left-hand drive car.

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"He was shifting with the opposite hand," Hamlin said. "That, to me, blows my mind. I guess I could do it, but I probably wouldn't be very efficient shifting with the other hand.

"We knew he was really good, but this is blowing my mind as we talk about it. You know what? Crown him. Greatest fucking athlete in the history of sports.

"I mean, he went from one side of the car to the other. I did it when I went to Japan for Toyota and I ran out in a GT3 car. It took me forever to get comfortable driving from the other side of the car.

"Holy cow. Everywhere you turn it's pretty amazing, what he did."

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