Kiwi driver strengthens Von Ryan team
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V8 Supercar driver Shane van Gisbergen joins strong line-up to contest Blancpain series
As Shane van Gisbergen prepares for his stint in the McLaren factory-aligned Von Ryan Racing GT3, the team’s boss is already impressed with the V8 Supercar driver.
Van Gisbergen joins the team after gaining the attention of McLaren GT programme managing director, Andrew Kirkaldy, at last year’s Bathurst 12 Hour event.
In a McLaren MP12C GT3 the Kiwi was one of the fastest on track and he just missed being placed. “I had a good time at Bathurst and was mixing it with some good names and Andy saw that we were good enough,” van Gisbergen said.
Kirkaldy approached former McLaren Formula One sporting director Dave Ryan about adding van Gisbergen to Von Ryan Racing for this year’s Blancpain Series.
The 25-year-old will join Bruno Senna, Rob Bell, Alvaro Parente, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and Kevin Estre at the British-based manufacturer.
Fellow New Zealander Ryan is chuffed to the have van Gisbergen on board — having a Kiwi back in a factory McLaren car can only be a good thing.
“He [van Gisbergen] impressed Andrew so much at Bathurst he was very keen to get him on board in a McLaren to potentially keep him from going anywhere else,” Ryan said. “He’s obviously very, very good and it was a shame we didn’t get to run him much at Spa last year.
We’re putting him up against the best so it’s just a matter of getting on with it. There will be a number of circuits Shane will not have been to but that doesn’t seem to worry him.
“We’ve got an incredibly talented line-up of drivers and Shane is one of them. We haven’t decided the final line-up for each car yet but I can’t see that being a problem.
“If the car is quick enough we will be in a position to do well and challenge for a podium.”
For the first couple of seasons Von Ryan Racing were campaigning the MP12C GT3 model and now have the 650S GT3 and it would appear to be the car to have. Ryan’s team finished third overall at their last race in Abu Dhabi in 2014.
“The cars have moved on quite a bit from the 12C,” Ryan said. “It’s a better car altogether and is an evolution on the previous model. It’s a much better car, where the weaknesses of the older car have been rectified.
“It’s still great we’re a Kiwi team, racing on a Kiwi licence, and with Shane and the other drivers in the team we’re looking forward to having a successful season.”
Blancpain Series Calendar
France: Apr 4-6
Monza, Italy: Apr 11-12
Brands Hatch, UK: May 9-10
Silverstone, UK: May 23-24
Zolder, Belgium: Jun 5-7
Paul Ricard, France: Jun 19-20
Moscow City, Russia: Jul 3-5
Spa, Belgium: Jul 23-24
Algarve, Portugal: Sep 4-6
Nurburgring, Germany: Sep 19-10
Misano, Italy: Oct 2-4
Baku, Azerbaijan: Oct 24-25