Bathurst 1000 champion Shane van Gisbergen isn't ready to rule out leaving Supercars for good having claimed he wants to return to Mount Panorama in the near future. Van Gisbergen won his second-straight Bathurst 1000 ahead of his switch to NASCAR next year.
The driver's victory marked the biggest margin in 24 years and he became the first champion since 2008 to win back-to-back titles. Van Gisbergen isn't giving up hope on winning a third-straight Supercars title, despite now trailing leader Brodie Kostecki by 131 points.
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However, the 34-year-old Kiwi isn't expected to get another chance next year to go for his third-straight title at Bathurst having announced a move to NASCAR. Van Gisbergen signed with Trackhouse Racing in the US, the same team that backed him when he won on his NASCAR debut.
And while Van Gisbergen is keen for the switch, he was adamant he would return to Supercars. “I’ll be back one day, probably,” he said after the race. “For now, this is the perfect way to say goodbye.”
Van Gisbergen later added: "I like this place and love the series still. I want it to be successful."
"Next year, I'm going to fully immerse myself in NASCAR. I don't know what my schedule is next year, but if it allows I'll come back here. I want to be in the cup series so I'm doing everything I can to get there."
Van Gisbergen ready to chase Supercars title
The season isn't over for van Gisbergen who is hoping to still make up the 131 points from Kostecki. However, he was full of praise forthe current championship leader and admitted it would be a tough battle. "Anything can happen," van Gisbergen said.
"Obviously Brodie's doing very well, he doesn't make many mistakes," he said. "He's an awesome driver and their raw speed is definitely better than ours; our race pace is always pretty close."
Kostecki was less than impressed with his weekend having failed to convert pole position at Bathurst 1000. This is despite winning the Top-10 shootout with the biggest margin since 1999. "Not really, I want to win races," the 25-year-old said of his performance.
There was plenty of drama at Bathurst 1000 with seven-time winner Craig Lowndes having endured a tough day after he was forced to take a pit stop early in the race due to a gear failure. Lowndes emerged from the car and gestured the issue. Footage showed Lowndes clearly frustrated after the drama.
“He’s cranky about it,” Neil Crompton said during commentary. “He was going to be one of the contenders,” Supercars legend Mark Skaife said.
“They’ve instructed him to come straight into the garage. Behind that big smile is a very, very competitive man He’ll be upset that’s happened so early. Disastrous news there for Craig and Zane (Goddard).”
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