V8 Supercar star Shane Van Gisbergen has ended media and online speculation and tonight confirmed he will return to the sport in 2013.
Van Gisbergen has signed to drive alongside Jonathon Webb at the Gold Coast-based Tekno Autosports, the team fielding two new Holden Commodores – Van Gisbergen’s #97 Commodore backed by V.I.P. Petfoods.
Van Gisbergen’s decision comes eight weeks after he sensationally quit the sport for personal reasons, the 23 year old re-thinking his future while holidaying in his native New Zealand.
“Towards the end of last year, I started to lose motivation. The environment wasn’t right and I was struggling to remember why I was racing – it wasn’t a great mindset to be in, so I made the decision to take a break,” Van Gisbergen said.
“I spent six weeks back home and was able to recharge my batteries. I had a good hard think about my career and considered my options.
“As part of that, I decided that if I was going to return, I needed a fresh challenge in a new environment, and this is exactly the opportunity I was looking for.
“Tekno Autosports is one of the sport’s up-and-coming teams, and (team owners) Jonathon and Kobe Webb have built a really strong, tight knit team, with guys like (team manager) Bruce Jenkins.
“Tekno has great staff, and the equipment and resources that you need to win races.”
Van Gisbergen said while he had walked away from V8s he had never permanently retired from the sport.
“I was never retired, retirement is final and that was never my consideration. I said I was leaving the sport for a bit. I’ve considered my options and this is the next chapter in my career.”
After starring in New Zealand’s Formula Ford and Toyota Racing open wheeler development series, Van Gisbergen burst onto the V8 scene as an 18 year old with Team Kiwi mid-way through the 2007 season when, in torrentially wet weather at Sydney’s Oran Park Raceway, he finished top 15 on debut.
Driving for Stone Brothers Racing from 2008, Van Gisbergen’s maiden V8 race win came on home soil at the Hamilton Street Circuit in 2011, much to the delight of the patriotic NZ crowd.
Van Gisbergen won another race during that year on his way to finishing fourth in the championship, while he finished sixth in the 2010 and 2012 seasons.
“We are delighted to welcome Shane Van Gisbergen to our team,” Tekno Autosports Chief Executive Officer Kobe Webb said.
“Jonathon and Shane drove together at Bathurst a few years ago where they forged a strong friendship.
“The two have always kept in touch and it was only a week or so ago that Shane began to consider his return to V8s and any serious discussions took place.
“Shane and Jonathon are an exciting and dynamic driver combination and we are looking to them helping Tekno Autosports continue its progress towards being a stronger and even more competitive team in V8 Supercars.”
The 2013 V8 Supercars Championship kicks off with the Official Pre-Season Test at Sydney Motor Sport Park on Saturday, 16 February, with the opening round, the Clipsal 500, in Adelaide on 28 February – 3 March).