CHEVROLET NCS AT COTA: Shane van Gisbergen Media Availability Quotes

SHANE VAN GISBERGEN, NO. 16 WEATHERTECH CAMARO ZL1, met with the media in advance of racing double duty in the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Race at Circuit of The Americas.

Media Availability Quotes:

Shane, we’re here at COTA for the first road course race of the 2024 season. Can you walk us through how it feels to be running on a road course again, and how you’re feeling about your season, so far, now that you’ve had a few races under your belt?

“Yeah, it’s been pretty cool preparation this week.. very different again to be turning right. Yeah, it’s pretty exciting. I’m sick of the simulator and ready to drive a real car. But yeah, just excited to see what it feels like. The Xfinity car is going to be a big challenge, and then the Cup car kind of feels a bit more normal. But yeah, going to have to relearn it again.

I’m excited. The season has been going well, so far. The results are pretty above where I thought I’d be, so yeah it’s been pleasantly surprising. I’m just really enjoying myself.”

When you were here in Supercars, you didn’t run the full course, did you? Can you explain what’s different in the Xfinity and Cup car here versus a Supercar?

“Yeah, so we raced here in 2013. At the last bit of the esses, where there’s a double-right, we turned left and did like a little chicane with a jump and joined the backstraight, so I missed those corners out the back. But really, the surface is very weathered in a lot of corners. It looks a lot more slippery now than it did back then, apart from obviously the parts where they just resealed. So yeah, it’s going to be interesting to feel what it’s like, but I think these cars will drive very different to the Supercars then.”

You mentioned the simulator.. how much additional preparation have you put into this weekend, given it’s the first time that you’re pulling double duty?

“Yeah, I guess just double.. and then I did a little bit at Trackhouse on the static simulator, just going back-and-forth, mainly on the gear shifting. Just going from sequential back to the H-Pattern, just to not make mistakes. We’ve seen guys do that in the past. But I think the gears and the shift points are quite different, so should have any problem there. But yeah, it’s not going to be easy.”

In January, you told some of us that this was all new.. it was fun and great. Is it still that.. is it still fun for you?

“Yeah, I love that at the moment, it’s something different every week, and I’m just learning so much. Every stage in every race, so far, I keep getting better and get to the end of the race and go, ‘oh I wish I could start that again knowing what I do now’. The second-half of the year is going to be good, going back to the tracks I already know. But yeah, just the preparation is so intense when it’s something you don’t know. Especially this week doing both classes, having to watch two races and two sets of onboards and understanding the cars, is probably going to be the biggest thing. I had a good chat with Marcos Ambrose last night, and he said the Xfinity car will be unlike anything I’ve ever driven.. the way it brakes and the way the rearend works. He said it’s probably similar to the Cup cars he was racing, so hopefully those things help and helps me speed up the learning process.”

When you signed on for this season, were these some dates that you had circled from the get-go?

“I don’t know.. I was more excited about the ovals because it’s learning. I just know that I’ll be good here at these tracks. I’ve got great teams and two awesome WeatherTech Camaros. I’ve got great equipment and there’s no excuses to not do well at these races. I’ve still gone hard with my preparation, but really the ovals are my focus. That’s what I have to learn to make sure I’m ready when I’m in the Cup Series next year. These weekends, I just have to make sure I have fun and do well.”

How are you getting along with AJ Allmendinger, so far? You guys are probably going to be head-to-head on these road courses this year. Are you looking forward to those battles?

“Yeah, it’s been really good, so far. We haven’t had too many races on-track, but everything I’ve asked him, he’s been open. He’s obviously at the top of his game and pretty impressive in those cars, and on the road courses here, as well. I’ve learned a lot from him, watching him on the simulator. I look forward to battling him on track, too. Hopefully we push each other forward and try to beat everyone else before we beat ourselves.”

Does this track remind you of any of the tracks that you race in Australia? Also, do you guys think you’ve exceeded your expectations this season in the Xfinity Series?

“Just the track limits are crazy here. It’s so new to me to just open the wheel, mid-corner, and drive off the track. So that’s taken a lot of adjusting to get used to that mindset. I was practicing not cutting on the simulator.. they changed the rules about not being able to cut the corners, and then I saw today they’ve gone back on it. So yeah, it’s pretty interesting the rules here. We normally have big curbs, so we kind of cut the corners. I think it would be a bit difficult, especially when you’re following someone closely, to be able to judge the curbs. So that will take a bit of learning, but yeah just watching the races, it’s crazy that guys are off the track more than they’re on it. That’s the normal here, I guess. But yeah, it looks fun.”

You walked the track with your dog and Chris Rice today. Did you learn anything today when you walked the track?

“Just how different the track was from 10 years ago. The surface looks really different, and then obviously looking at the back few corners, which I hadn’t seen before. And you just forget how much elevation this place has. Like walking up turn one, you’re puffing straight away.. like it’s really steep. Yeah, I had forgotten that. The TV never gives it justice.. even with the backstraight, how much elevation there is there. It’s a really cool track.”

Can you go into more about the racing you did here 10 years ago with the Supercars.. how that’s kind of differed and what changes there are?

“Yeah, so when we came here, we did four sprint races. I think they were 20 laps, or something like that, of the short tracks. So that’s the biggest thing.. the race length. I think Sunday’s race is probably three or three-and-a-half hours. That’s probably the toughest thing.. how long these races go for. And then the stages, understanding that.. deciding, in Xfinity especially, when to go for stage points or when to pit. That’s kind of new to me, as well. Understanding how that works. I think that kind of rules the race and where you end up placing. I have a lot to learn and understand that. But yeah, probably just driving.. try to follow someone and learn how much track you can use.”

Now that you’re running the full-time Xfinity schedule, you’ve got superspeedway, short-tracks, longer ovals, intermediate tracks, road courses. Does having every weekend be different.. does that mess with the rhythm for someone that’s just starting to do this?

“No, the variety has been good. I just wish I got more laps at Las Vegas, but I really enjoyed Phoenix. I had some great battles with people. There was one guy.. Anthony Alfredo, we had an awesome battle where we were two-wide for so many laps. It was bloody annoying because we were the same speed and I couldn’t get away from him (laughs). We were slowing each other up, but it was so much fun just racing with each other. We had an awesome race. So yeah, that kind of stuff, I’m really enjoying. Learning other guys and how they race, and mostly everybody has been pretty good.”