Motorsport: Van Gisbergen set to quit V8s

Shane van Gisbergen is rumoured to be quitting V8 Supercars at the end of the season because he is disillusioned with the sport. Photo / Getty Images.
Shane van Gisbergen is rumoured to be quitting V8 Supercars at the end of the season because he is disillusioned with the sport. Photo / Getty Images.

Shane van Gisbergen's website says he was "born to race''. That might not now be the case amid widespread rumours the Kiwi will quit V8 Supercars at the end of the season because he is disillusioned with the sport.

The 23-year-old and Stone Brothers Racing team boss Ross Stone have refused to comment on the speculation that is the talk of pitlane for this weekend's penultimate round in Winton, north of Melbourne. It comes just six months after he signed a new three-year deal with Stone Brothers but that was before the team announced its switch from Ford to Mercedes-Benz for 2013.

"It's a pretty cool feeling to be able to keep all our relationships going,'' he said at the time. "I definitely think I can win a championship with SBR, that is the main reason I wanted to stay. I wouldn't have stayed if I didn't think that.

"Everything is really exciting now and I'm looking forward to continuing to work with SBR and SP Tools.''

Reports suggest the change in manufacturer and management structure allows Van Gisbergen to activate a get-out clause in his contract and others have said Van Gisbergen wants to spend more time at home - his family live on the outskirts of Auckland.

It could open up the possibility he will race in the V8 SuperTourers in New Zealand currently in its inaugural season but speedcafe.com reported he was more likely to "dabble'' in quad biking, karting and drifting.

He first started on a Suzuki ATV at age five before racing a quarter midget on speedway ovals and karts. He also had a year in Formula First (entry level single seaters), won the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship in 2006 and was second in the 2007 Toyota Racing Series before jumping into tin tops.

The news of Van Gisbergen's imminent departure is something that has caught many, including Kiwi motor ace Greg Murphy, unaware.

"It's quite bizarre and very interesting,'' Murphy told Newstalk ZB. "I haven't heard of anything like this but certainly it's one out of left-field, that's for sure.''

Reports last week suggested Van Gisbergen wanted to remain loyal to Ford and was looking for a switch of teams but it's since emerged he has lost his passion and wants a more relaxed lifestyle.

Despite his tender years, he has been racing V8s since 2007 when he was just 17. He first teamed up with Team Kiwi Racing but his potential was soon recognised and won promotion to Stone Brothers Racing's main team in 2008.

He finished his first full season in 15th and improved to 12th in 2009, sixth in 2010 and fourth in 2011, when he notched his first career win at Hamilton.

He's had another good season in 2012, with four podium finishes and a career-first pole position at Sandown, and was fifth on the points table behind clear leader Jamie Whincup with two rounds remaining.

- APNZ

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