In just his first season with Red Bull Racing Australia, Shane van Gisbergen took his maiden Virgin Australia Supercars Championship title in stunning fashion.
The trophy sits alongside two other prestigious honours earned in 2016 – the revered Jason Richards Memorial Trophy, an emotional win for the Kiwi at home at Pukekohe; and the Pirtek Enduro Cup, which van Gisbergen won with Frenchman Alex Premat to become the first international pair to take the honour.
Roland Dane enlisted van Gisbergen to add to his already stellar driver line-up last year, expanding to three cars after the New Zealander’s strong showings with Tekno Autosports – including second in the championship in 2014.
Van Gisbergen burst onto the Supercars scene with Team Kiwi Racing in the middle of 2007. During a torrentially wet weekend of racing at Oran Park, he finished 13th in one of the races and set the third-fastest lap in another.
Stone Brothers Racing became Van Gisbergen’s home from 2008 through to the end of 2012. In the early stages of his career, he demonstrated brilliant car control – especially in the wet weather.
As the New Zealander matured, his performances on-track became far more consistent and he teetered on the brink of victory for a few seasons. Van Gisbergen broke through for his maiden win in the rain on New Zealand’s Hamilton Street circuit in 2011.
While Van Gisbergen scored more top 10 results in 2012, he was ready for new pastures in 2013 and controversially switched to the TEKNO Autosports Holden outfit.
The change in scenery reinvigorated Van Gisbergen’s enthusiasm and he won on debut with his new team at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, and took Commodore’s historic 400th all-time race win in the final race of the year at the Sydney 500.
Last year he backed that up to take the 500th win for the Commodore at Symmons Plains, and went on to tally eight race wins during the season, raising his all-time tally to 19 victories.