Van Gisbergen wants New Zealand to get a second Supercars event
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Kiwi Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen is warning the sport against expanding outside of its strong hold in Australasia.
The 2016 champion maintained his series lead over the four races held last weekend at the Australian Grand Prix round – the first time championship points have been up for grabs.
During the event talks were staged between Supercars and Formula 1 about working together at other events. Supercars have long held a desire to break into the lucrative Asian market and have been linked to events in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
The possibility of racing at the Singapore Grand Prix in the near future seems high but van Gisbergen doesn't like the idea of it.
"I have raced in Asia a couple of times and I hate it," the Red Bull Holden driver told The Herald. "It is too hot. It is always humid as anything and too hot.
"I never enjoy it.
"But if it is good for the sport and the manufacturers want us to go then sure, it is a good thing."
Despite reluctantly agreeing to go should the series confirm Asian expansion in the months ahead van Gisbergen would prefer to see Supercars focus growth closer to home.
He points at moves to the UAE, Bahrain and China over the past few years that ultimately failed to gain the attention of locals and were quickly scrapped.
"We have tried stuff like that and it hasn't worked so I am not too sure. We have a pretty awesome product here in Australia and New Zealand."
Instead of looking further afield van Gisbergen thinks the series could easily expand internally. Already the series has grown this year to include point-scoring at the Australian Grand Prix plus a round at the soon-to-be-open Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia later in the year.
Toowoomba, Rockhampton and Geelong have all been mooted as potential locations for the championship to visit while the 28-year-old is advocating a second trip to New Zealand. At present the series visits Pukekohe Park Raceway once a year.
"I would rather see another race in New Zealand – maybe the South Island and tap into that market. We only race there once a year and there are some awesome tracks all around New Zealand.
"Also in Australia we could have more races in some of the bigger towns we don't go to. I think we need to make it better in our own countries before we look around the world."
Van Gisbergen leads the championship by 49 points from Erebus Holden driver David Reynolds. The next round of the championship is at Symmons Plains in Tasmania this weekend.
- NZ Herald