SHANE van Gisbergen’s planned debut in the Trans Am Series at Queensland Raceway next month has been thwarted due to “political pressure”.
The Triple Eight Supercars star was primed to join the burgeoning Australian Racing Group class aboard Tasmanian racer Tim Shaw’s Chevrolet Camaro.
Van Gisbergen tested the car at Queensland Raceway in April ahead of a scheduled outing at the Easter Bathurst Round, from which he was ultimately ruled out due to COVID-19.
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Shaw has now revealed the versatile Kiwi will not be participating in the forthcoming Ipswich Round on August 5-7 or any others this year.
“It’s disappointing for us. We worked really hard to get Shane in the car,” Shaw said.
“We had a successful test with him, it was a great day and we were looking forward to a very competitive outing at Queensland Raceway.
“Shane contracted COVID just before the Bathurst round which put an end to that and now political pressure has put an end to that.”
When asked for comment by V8 Sleuth, Triple Eight stated it was a team decision not to allow van Gisbergen.
“The decision was made by Triple Eight for Shane not to compete in the Trans Am Series – there was no external pressure on this decision,” the statement read.
Van Gisbergen must be deregistered from Triple Eight before participating in any extracurricular racing events
Speculation had swirled ahead of the Bathurst Trans Am round that Supercars was unhappy with the prospect of van Gisbergen competing in the muscle car class.
Supercars and Triple Eight are currently co-developing a category Gen3 rules Camaro race car that will debut in 2023 and compete against an all-new Ford Mustang.
Trans Am also features a Camaro vs. Mustang battle with low-cost cars imported from the United States and operated under ARG’s SpeedSeries program.
“It’s just very disappointing for motorsport because fans love to see Shane in the car,” Shaw continued.
“One of the reasons he’s the best is because he’s the modern day Peter Brock – he drives everything.
“Right now my car is still registered for QR, so I’m stepping back in and driving in Shane’s place.”
Van Gisbergen has been granted permission by Triple Eight to compete in a number of non-Supercars competitions over the past few years, including various gravel rallies.
The Supercars Championship leader’s rallying outings include an appearance at the New Zealand round of the World Rally Championship a week before the Bathurst 1000.