Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen will spearhead Triple Eight Race Engineering’s first overseas foray.
The Red Bull Holden Racing Team ace will be one of three drivers for Triple Eight’s full-time GT debut in the Blancpain GT World Challenge-Asia Series starting next month.
It’s the first time the hugely successful Australian team has raced overseas after its 2003 entry into the Supercars championship.
Van Gisbergen will share professional duties in the team with Malaysian driver Jazeman Jaafar, while Johor royal family member Prince Jefri Ibrahim will compete as an amateur driver.
The New Zealander will race in three of the six events alongside his Supercars commitments.
“It’s really exciting that Roland (Dane, team owner) and Triple Eight are expanding into Asia and GT racing,” van Gisbergen said.
“Of course, my focus is still going to be fully on our Supercars campaign and making sure I’m giving myself and the team the best opportunity to win races, but …. I think we’ve got a great platform in the Mercedes GT3 car. It seems to be an allrounder that suits most types of tracks.”
SInce bringing the Triple Eight brand to Australia, Roland Dane has overseen the team’s rise to become the dominant force in Supercars.
As well as eight Supercars drivers’ titles and seven Bathurst 1000 wins, Triple Eight also claimed the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour GT event.
“GT racing is something I’ve been looking at for a few years now and our two campaigns in the Bathurst 12 Hour have cemented in my mind that it’s something I want Triple Eight to be involved in on a longer-term basis,” Dane said.
“I’ve kept an eye on Asia’s Blancpain GT championship since its inception in 2017. There’s no doubt the category is going from strength to strength and it presents an opportunity for Triple Eight to broaden our portfolio.”
The Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia begins in April in Malaysia with van Gisbergen’s first event to be in May in Thailand.