A long-awaited speedway debut proved "pretty awesome" for Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen.
Van Gisbergen took to the dirt at Auckland’s Western Springs Speedway on Tuesday.
The Aucklander has locked in a number of sprint car starts in the summer as he readies for his Supercars title defence in 2023.
Speedway action is the latest feather in van Gisbergen’s cap following a bumper 2022.
He is the latest Supercars driver after the likes of Cam Waters and Brodie Kostecki to compete in sprint cars.
Only last week, Waters returned to the saddle of his Chief Racing machine in rural Victoria.
This year alone, alongside his Supercars commitments, van Gisbergen competed in GT cars, rallying and at Le Mans.
The two-time Bathurst winner’s competitive speedway debut had been delayed twice due to poor weather.
He finally rolled out on Tuesday to the delight of 10,000 fans, and had a mixed night aboard his #97 sprint car.
Car troubles ensured van Gisbergen missed the first heat before starting from the rear for the second heat.
He ran inside the top 10 before an attempted overtake led to a wild 360-degree spin.
However, he quickly corrected to raucous cheers, before carrying on to finish 11th.
Van Gisbergen ran fifth in the third heat before coming home 14th of 20 in the feature race, which was won by Michael Pickens.
While determined to improve, van Gisbergen enjoyed his first competitive outing on home soil since September's Rally New Zealand.
"It's cool to get back out there," van Gisbergen told Wide World of Sports.
"It's pretty awesome. You come in and they change so many things on the car.
"I'm just here to have a go. Hopefully get better but no expectations of what we're doing."
Van Gisbergen will return to the dirt at Tauranga's Baypark Speedway on Wednesday.
The 75-time Supercars race winner will race at Western Springs again on January 1 and January 6.
The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will commence in Newcastle next March.
Tickets are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.