The co-driver position is completely new territory for motor racing superstar Shane van Gisbergen but racing alongside emerging BNT V8 SuperTourer driver Simon Evans is not.
Van Gisbergen announced today that he will co-drive the Smeg Racing Holden Commodore at Taupo, Hampton Downs and Pukekohe in the BNT V8 SuperTourers’ enduro series.
“It’s the first time I have ever been a co-driver and it is a different role,” says van Gisbergen. “But it’s not about me this year. I have to bring the car home straight and bank the points for Simon.”
While it is the first co-drive for the V8 Supercar frontrunner, he has raced alongside Evans on many occasions. Both went to St Kentigerns College together and raced Karts, formula first as well as quarter midget cars as youngsters and are great mates.
In fact, the Evans and van Gisbergen families have enjoyed a long friendship which made the decision to come together in a V8 SuperTourer very easy.
The pairing will be a force to be reckoned with in the enduros, particularly given Evans’ great form in this year’s sprint series where he pushed Kiwi legend Greg Murphy all the way before settling for second in the overall championship standings.
“Winning (the enduro series) is definitely our goal,” he adds. “That is what I am here for. Simon just gets better and better so we are definitely capable. We are looking forward to taking it to Murph and Pedersen.”
Evans is also fired up about his prospects and is obviously very pleased to have van Gisbergen at his side.
“Racing is all about tenths of a second and Shane will be good for a couple which will make a massive difference,” says Evans. “If we can come out on top or there about, it will set me up with a good shot at the championship.”
Van Gisbergen’s last tilt at the V8 SuperTourer title ended with a blown motor at the Pukekohe grand final in November, where he was poised perfectly to seriously challenge Murphy and Pedersen for the overall title.
“I really miss the series and am looking forward to being a part of it all again,” says van Gisbergen. “It’s a great class and I would love to be back in it fulltime but at the moment the enduros are my focus.”
Van Gisbergen enjoys superstar status in the Australian V8 Supercars and is currently sitting fourth in the championship, just 247 points behind leader Jamie Whincup. He showed his class with two race wins at the Sydney Supercar event last weekend and is now poised to make a serious challenge for title.