Shane van Gisbergen says he’s “stoked” to make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut this year amid a busy schedule which will see him racing “pretty much every week”.
Van Gisbergen embarked on a new Virgin Australia Supercars season with Triple Eight last month and is also set to join the team at the bulk of GT World Challenge Asia rounds.
While the New Zealander has known of his Le Mans drive for a while, last week he was confirmed on the entry list for the French endurance classic in the LMP2 class with Eurasia Motorsport.
The drive came after he competed for the team in the Asian Le Mans Series round at The Bend in January, with a clash for Nick Cassidy now allowing for van Gisbergen to step in at Le Mans.
He will be joined by fellow countryman Daniel Gaunt and Japanese racer Nobuya Yamanaka in the No. 35 Ligier JS P217 Gibson entry.
“It’s with the same team that I drove for at The Bend and unfortunately Nick Cassidy has some clashes so he can’t race Le Mans this year so it worked out pretty well,” van Gisbergen told Sportscar365.
“It’s a shame for him but it’s a race I’d really love to do and unfortunately the calendar has never allowed it. I’ve been trying a few avenues to get in there and finally it happened.
“Le Mans is just something you want to tick off the list, it’s a race that everyone should do in their career and as I said I’ve wanted to do it for years but the calendars always clashed.
“It’s a good opportunity to go and experience it and then next year is the big rule change so hopefully that might lead to something too.”
The 2016 Supercars champion has no expectations ahead of his first visit to Circuit de la Sarthe in what will be only his second race in Le Mans Prototype machinery.
He also says the ACO/IMSA convergence announcement could open doors for an increased sports car program next year.
“I don’t go there with any expectations, I just want to go there and learn and have some fun,” he added.
“I think all three of us are rookies so we’re not going to go and win but if we can get some experience, get a good result, not make any mistakes and finish the 24 hours that would be good.
“It all depends on the Supercars calendar and what happens there. Supercars is still my main focus and hopefully always will be,” he said of his future plans.
“If I can cherry-pick a few good races [next year] and go and have some fun overseas in-between the main racing I’d love to go and do it.”
Van Gisbergen Still Working on 24H Spa Drive
While the 30-year-old’s schedule already sees him on a plane “pretty much every week”, he is still eager to make a return to the 24 Hours of Spa.
“Obviously I’ve also got GT Asia so it’s going to make the timing tough for that and also the Spa 24 and test and stuff, so hopefully a lot of trips to Europe if I get a Spa drive,” he said of his schedule.
“I think every week is tough. I haven’t got anything locked away yet for Spa, but hopefully can get back there. It’s a fun race, but yeah I haven’t really looked too far into it.
“I’m pretty busy with GT Asia and Supercars stuff so it’s shaping up to be a pretty awesome year.”