SVG names favourite Supercars battle with McLaughlin

09 Mar
'The laps we were doing were just quali laps, so close to the wall, just flat out the whole time'
  • van Gisbergen names favourite Supercars battle with McLaughlin

  • McLaughlin beat van Gisbergen to victory in 2019 Bathurst 1000

  • Kiwis were heated Supercars rivals between 2017 and 2020

Shane van Gisbergen has named his 2019 Bathurst 1000 battle with Scott McLaughlin as his favourite Supercars battle with his compatriot.

Van Gisbergen and McLaughlin, formerly heated Supercars rivals, are now plying their trade in the United States in NASCAR and IndyCar respectively.

McLaughlin’s 2024 campaign with Team Penske begins this weekend, and is in the discussion for championship glory after finishing third in 2023.

Meanwhile, van Gisbergen is already three races into his NASCAR Xfinity Series season, and made a big statement with third at Atlanta in just his second race.

The two Kiwis fought tooth and nail for the best part of a decade, most notably between 2017 and 2020 when McLaughlin joined DJR Team Penske.

Between 2017 and 2020, McLaughlin won 48 races to van Gisbergen’s 20 — and it was a fight at Mount Panorama that fell McLaughlin’s way that van Gisbergen holds dear.

McLaughlin held off van Gisbergen to clinch a maiden Peter Brock Trophy in an epic Bathurst 1000 in 2019, with the race settled after one final hot lap following a Safety Car.

McLaughlin had his hands full in the final 10 laps defending van Gisbergen while fuel-saving, and the #17 Ford held on by less than a second.

When asked by NASCAR legend Kevin Harvick what his favourite McLaughlin battle was, van Gisbergen replied: “Unfortunately, it was probably when I came second to him.

“It was Bathurst 2019, we raced at the end, and I was just really trying to be as close as I could to him.

“Like, the laps we were doing were just quali laps, so close to the wall, just flat out the whole time. Coming second sucked, but, how on the limit we were pushing, it was a pretty cool feeling.”

Speaking on Harvick’s Happy Hour podcast, van Gisbergen said of McLaughlin: "We're friends again now that we're not competing, trying to beat each other every weekend.

SVG apologised to McLaughlin over 'awkward' moment Open Graph Image

"But man, we had an awesome time, like I think it was 2017 to 2020, we had some great races and he ended up winning three championships.

"He was awesome. Really, really good racer… when I did the race here, Chicago last year, he was one of the most excited guys, blowing up my phone, asking me about it all.”

The 2019 race was van Gisbergen’s first alongside Garth Tander, with the duo winning in 2020 and 2022. Van Gisbergen cited Tander as a major influence on how to win the Great Race, having added a third victory alongside Richie Stanaway last October.

“It took me two or three years to be fully fast there, and then the way the race is, it took me a long time to be a factor every year,” the Trackhouse Racing driver said.

“It's a really hard race to be good at… then I had Garth Tander, he retired and became my co driver for the enduros, and he he taught me how to win that race.

"2019 we raced together and then won in 2020 and ’22, we won it together.”

Van Gisbergen’s Xfinity Series campaign continues at Phoenix this weekend, with McLaughlin’s IndyCar season commencing at St. Petersburg.

The 2024 Repco Supercars Championship continues at the MSS Security SuperSprint on March 21-24.

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