Shane Van Gisbergen has been selected as the predecessor to Kimi Raikkonen in Trackhouse Racing's PROJECT91 entry, which will return for the inaugural Chicago Street Race on July 2.
The Auckland, New Zealand-native will drive the No. 91 Embrace Health Chevrolet Camaro in the event, which marks the first street race in the history of the NASCAR Cup Series.
“I can honestly say I have dreamed about an opportunity in NASCAR, but really never thought it would become a reality,” said van Gisbergen. “I can’t wait to get to the States to meet everyone and prepare for Chicago. It’s NASCAR’s first time on the streets of Chicago so in some ways everyone will be a rookie like me, but I don’t underestimate that it’s going to be a huge challenge.”
The PROJECT91 entry, created to bring a larger international presence to NASCAR, has featured Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen in its first two starts at Watkins Glen (2022) and Circuit of The Americas (2023).
In its first two starts, the third part-time entry for Trackhouse Racing has secured finishes of 37th and 29th, respectively, a mark that Van Gisbergen will be looking to improve upon.
“I’ll concede the American racing fan might not be as familiar with Shane as they are with Kimi but if you talk with anyone in Australia, New Zealand, and that part of the world they will tell you he is one of the most talented drivers on the planet,” said Trackhouse co-owner, Justin Marks. “He’s used to street racing in heavy cars and I think everyone will be very impressed with his performance.”
Embrace Health will serve as the primary sponsor of Van Gisbergen's No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro for the July 2 event, the company's first voyage into NASCAR sponsorship.
Additionally, Quad Lock, which signed the three-time Supercars champion as a brand ambassador last season will serve as a major associate partner of the effort.
“Quad Lock is thrilled to venture into the world of NASCAR, the pinnacle of US motorsport,” said Dominic Storey, Quad Lock Sponsorship Manager. “As Quad Lock continues its growth in the US market, the collaboration with Trackhouse Racing and the inclusion of our brand ambassador, Shane van Gisbergen, presents a fantastic alignment for everyone involved. We eagerly anticipate achieving success both on and off the track in the coming future.”
As far as traveling to the United States, SVG will attend the NASCAR Cup Series event at Nashville Superspeedway on June 25, before spending the week of the event at the Trackhouse shop.
“There is so much I have to learn about these cars and how the races are run,” said van Gisbergen. “The learning curve will be quite steep, but I am ready for everything they will throw at me. I know a lot of Kiwi’s and Aussies will be watching and I’m honored to get this opportunity.”