SVG: GT3 ‘easy’ for Supercars drivers
- By Stefan Bartholomaeus
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Shane van Gisbergen is adamant the Supercars drivers making their GT debuts at Bathurst will have no trouble getting up to speed.
Jamie Whincup, Todd Kelly, Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert are all racing GT3 cars for the first time this weekend.
Van Gisbergen has by contrast been a regular in GTs over recent years, winning last year’s Bathurst 12 Hour and Blancpain Endurance Series with McLaren.
The Kiwi switched to Mercedes this season, kicking off his year at the Daytona 24 Hours last weekend before joining Scott Taylor Motorsport at Bathurst.
While Whincup stressed that he faces a difficult task to adapt to his Ferrari following limited testing, Van Gisbergen expects him to be on the pace from the outset.
“These cars are easy to drive on the limit. You just drive on the (electronic driver) aids,” Van Gisbergen told Supercars.com.
“Those guys do a 2:05s and 2:06s in a Supercar around here and it’s super easy to drive one of these compared to a Supercar.
“You just press the brake as hard as you can and it just stops. It’s a lot less skill and technique than a Supercar.
“When you do a 2:06 in a Supercar compared to a 2:01 (in a GT) here you feel much better about a 2:06. You feel like you’ve really driven a lap (in a Supercar).
“It was cool last year to do it (a 2:01s), but race cars shouldn’t have aids.
“I pray Supercars doesn’t go that way. If we keep gearshifts and no ABS (anti-lock brakes) and no TC (traction control), it’s a proper race car.
“Those (Supercars) guys, I think, will impress and hopefully, like me, it will help them to do more racing overseas if they want.”
The Mercedes that Van Gisbergen is sharing with countryman Craig Baird and German Maro Engel and has been touted as the favourite for Sunday’s race.
“I don’t know why,” Van Gisbergen said of the favourites tag, stressing that form is “a guessing game” due to the Balance of Performance system.
“When I look at the entry, I see 12 cars definitely and maybe 13 to 14 that can be strong if it goes their way.”
While already well and truly settled into the Mercedes thanks to Daytona, Van Gisbergen expects a very different Bathurst 12 Hour to last year.
“Last year was really high pace, like a sprint race,” he said.
“This year it’s going to be traffic management, less risk, being smooth and staying on the lead lap until the end.
“There will be lots of Safety Cars and carnage and you’ve just got to get the strategy right.”
This weekend sees Van Gisbergen reunited with race engineer Dr Geoff Slater, who worked with the Kiwi at Tekno in 2014 and 2015.