SVG move confirmed, Lawson faces biggest challenge yet at Singapore

Two Kiwi drivers are at the centre of world motorsport's attention and on the cusp of very big moves.

Sep 15, 2023

A big week for both Shane van Gisbergen and Liam Lawson and both Kiwi drivers pursue their goals in the highest echelons of motorsport.

SVG formalises deal with Trackhouse Racing for 2024

Shane van Gisbergen and Trackhouse Racing have announced the Kiwi will be part of Trackhouse Racing’s 2024 NASCAR program, which includes participation in the top three national series (Cup, Xfinity, and Craftsman Truck Series).

With the pedigree of being a three-time Supercars champion, and past NASCAR race winner, van Gisbergen had attracted interest from several teams, including Ford and Toyota, but chose to stick with Trackhouse.

Who can forget the sensational win on his NASCAR debut on the streets of Chicago and he also performed well in subsequent races at Indianapolis. His deal with Trackhouse is labelled a "Developmental Program," which signals a gradual transition into the main NASCAR competition, perhaps in 2025.

Shane van Gisbergen has expressed his excitement about this new chapter in his career and thanked everyone who contributed to his success in Australia.

“I’m proud of what I have achieved here in Australia, but I’m excited by this new chapter in my career and the opportunities that it brings.

“It is time for a new challenge and this adventure into Nascar will be the biggest challenge of my career and one I’m really looking forward to,” the Kiwi said.

In 2024, van Gisbergen will be teammates with Daniel Suarez and Ross Chastain at Trackhouse Racing. He is leaving his Supercars career at Triple Eight Race Engineering, with Will Brown taking his place in one of the team's entries.

In the meantime, The Repco Supercars Championship marches on with the Penrite Oil Sandown 500, while the NASCAR Cup Series' Playoffs Round of 16 concludes with the Bristol Night Race.

Singapore another baptism by fire for Lawson this weekend

Liam Lawson faces another monumental challenge behind the wheel of an F1 car this weekend at Singapore. The Singapore Grand Prix is a notoriously challenging night race and street course, and it’s also the most physically demanding circuit. It is Formula 1’s biggest challenge.

With just three races under his belt, albeit including the frantic Dutch Grand Prix, Singapore will yet again test the young Kiwi and will be the toughest race to date. But on the back of two exceptional performances for AlphaTauri as Daniel Ricciardo’s fill-in driver while he recovers from surgery, Lawson’s baptism by fire has earned him the respect of the field and fans alike.

Lawson now must set his sights on F1 for 2024 and would seem, a seat for him with Alpha Tauri is very likely.

Very well respected F1 pundits are already claiming a deal is in the works, suggesting Yuki Tsunoda may be moved sideways to a reserve driver for the number 1 Red Bull team, possibly to take over from Sergio Perez, should performance not improve by the mid season 2024.

That would see Lawson in Tsunoda’s seat with Alpha Tauri. A mid-field team, but with Lawson and Ricciardo as drivers, that could change.

Of course everyone will be watching Lawson at Singapore, but to the kid from Pukekohe, the most important attention will come from his own Mum and Dad.

“[Singapore] has been a race that when I was a kid — I think because it was a night race — I always really liked,” he said. “My dad promised me every year from when I was seven years old that he would take me to the Singapore Grand Prix.”

The way Lawson’s career took off in Europe however meant he and his Father never did make it to the iconic Marina Bay event.

This weekend that dream comes true for the Lawson family.

“This weekend they’re actually coming — both my parents,” he said. “I’m taking them this time!”