SVG's bizarre knack of milestone race drama

13 Jul
Reigning champ's 500th race was full of twists and turns
4 mins by James Pavey

Shane van Gisbergen has a knack of being put through the wringer in milestone races, and his 500th Supercars start was no different.

Van Gisbergen celebrated his 500th start last weekend at the NTI Townsville 500, a week after winning on start No.1 in NASCAR.

The day started terribly for van Gisbergen as he slumped to 25th and last in qualifying, but in true SVG, he motored to fifth.

It was the latest in a long line of dramatic milestone races for van Gisbergen, who debuted as a teenager at Oran Park in 2007.

Race #1: Welcome to the big leagues

This week on SuperArchive: SVG's debut

An 18-year-old van Gisbergen raised eyebrows when he finished Friday practice at Oran Park 15th in the 31-car field. He came back down the earth with 29th in Saturday qualifying, and finished his first career race in 20th place. It set the tone for exciting Races 2 and 3, with the teenager racing 13th place in the first race, before finishing 23rd in the finale.

Race #50: A maiden win goes begging

Van Gisbergen’s 50th race could have been so much better, with the Kiwi fifth after starting 16th in the wet at Symmons Plains. Already touted as a wet weather maestro, van Gisbergen was right behind eventual winner Todd Kelly as they pitted for wets. However, the Kiwi suffered an off and lost three positions.

Race #100: A day before a star is born

Gold Coast flashback: SVG and Whincup's duel to the flag

Van Gisbergen celebrated the weekend of his 100th race with a run to third in the first enduro race on the Gold Coast streets. The next day proved perhaps the most defining van Gisbergen performance to date, with the 21-year-old clashing with Jamie Whincup for the win in an enthralling finish.

Race #150: A big Townsville charge

In his 150th race, van Gisbergen climbed impressively from his 18th place starting spot to take seventh. The Kiwi, in his final season with Stone Brothers Racing, passed several cars en route to an unlikely top 10.

Race #200: Incidents galore


Race 200 saw van Gisbergen punt Scott Pye out of fifth mid-race. Van Gisbergen received a drive-through penalty and later collided with Tim Slade en route to 16th. This race also saw Scott McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup’s famous scrap for second on the final lap.

Race #250: Top five after early incident

Van Gisbergen came home fifth in his 250th race, which was won by Craig Lowndes, who claimed his 100th Supercars win. In start 249, van Gisbergen tangled with Holden Racing Team teammates James Courtney and Garth Tander on a restart after a safety car period, with Courtney penalised.

Race #300: Teammates collide chasing title

Van Gisbergen's run to the 2016 title featured a thrilling season-long battle with teammate Whincup in his first season with Triple Eight. It came to a head late in the season in the Kiwi's 300th race on home soil, with Whincup penalised after sending van Gisbergen into a spin at the hairpin.

Race #350: Night race victory thriller

Van Gisbergen celebrated race #350 with a stunning victory in Supercars’ first night race on Australian soil in over 20 years. Scott McLaughlin led the first half of the race and looked set to fight Craig Lowndes for the honours. However, a late Safety Car brought van Gisbergen and Whincup into the fight, and they duly muscled past McLaughlin in an epic run home.

Race #400: Penalised over clash

Chaos strikes on opening lap at Darwin

Van Gisbergen finished 11th in his 400th after being penalised over a clash that saw Nick Percat spun into Brad Jones Racing teammate Todd Hazelwood. Percat was out on the spot, Hazelwood needed repairs, and van Gisbergen was hit with a drive-through penalty.

Race #450: Title defence underway with strategy masterclass

Van Gisbergen’s title defence in 2022 began with race #450, also at Sydney Motorsport Park under lights. With the threat of rain looming, van Gisbergen was put onto a three-stop strategy, and he duly mowed through the field to crush the field by over 15 seconds.

Race #500: Miracle charge amid team orders drama

Sunday couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start for van Gisbergen, who slumped to 25th in qualifying after more car gremlins and an off at Turn 11. It got even worse, with the #97 turned around on the opening lap after a collision with Declan Fraser. From there, the salvage job began, van Gisbergen working his way to fourth — only to cede the position to teammate Broc Feeney amid a team orders communication breakdown.

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight on July 28-30. Tickets are on sale now.

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