'He blew us all away': When van Gisbergen first met Feeney

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 02/09/2021
  • By Charlie Bullis

Paul Morris has detailed the moment Shane van Gisbergen met future teammate Broc Feeney for the first time.

Earlier this week, Feeney was confirmed as van Gisbergen’s Red Bull Ampol Racing teammate for 2022 and beyond.

Feeney, who will turn 19 in October, will replace the retiring Jamie Whincup at Triple Eight Race Engineering.

The teenager will become just the eighth full-time Triple Eight driver, and will be the youngest.

It’s been a rapid ascension to Supercars’ most successful team, with Feeney winning his first karting title in 2017.

He moved to cars at age 15, and later became the youngest race winner in Toyota 86 Racing Series history.

Long-time Supercars driver Morris, played a key role in facilitating Feeney’s rise to the main game.

Morris first met Feeney when he was racing in the Toyota 86 category in 2018 and mentored him at his Norwell Motorplex driver training facility.

It was there that Feeney, also an apprentice mechanic, first encountered van Gisbergen.

Feeney and mentor Paul Morris in 2019

Speaking to Supercars.com, Morris explained the chance meeting.

"I remember the first time Shane saw Broc,” Morris said of the encounter.

"Broc was a school-based apprentice mechanic, working here at Norwell.

"Broc came out of the workshop, and we were having one of our afternoon shootouts.

"Broc just walked out as a 15-year-old kid and blew us all away in the shootout.

"Then Shane asked, ‘Who is that kid?’

"I replied, ‘That's just the apprentice mechanic, mate’.

"To think four years later, there he is driving with Shane, it's a pretty cool story.”

Feeney will replace Whincup in 2022

Feeney’s star continued to rise; he claimed the 2019 Super3 crown, and was handed a Super2 drive by Tickford Racing in 2020.

The Ford team also locked him in for a maiden Bathurst 1000 start, and he duly finished 10th alongside James Courtney.

A plumb gig in Triple Eight’s Super2 stable was his reward, and Feeney has carried the team’s famous #888 to four wins from six starts in 2021.

Such is the team’s confidence in Feeney, that the Banyo squad called him up to substitute for van Gisbergen at the GT World Challenge Australia round in Tailem Bend.

Van Gisbergen’s own memory of the meeting is hazy, but the 2016 champion was always assured of the young driver’s talents.

"Every time I was at Norwell, Broc was there a lot," van Gisbergen said of meeting Feeney for the first time.

"I observed the way he was always learning.

"I don’t remember the first time I met him out there, but I’m sure he was fast."

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