Supercars champ van Gisbergen ditches #1 for #97

Reigning Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen will not race with #1 next season, opting instead to stick with the #97 that he took to the title in 2016.

Van Gisbergen made a perfect start to his career as a Triple Eight Race Engineering driver, beating six-time championship-winning teammate Jamie Whincup to win his maiden Supercars crown.

However, he won’t be carrying on the tradition of running #1 as the reigning champion. Instead he has opted to retain his preferred #97 for the new season, leaving the #1 vacant.

Van Gisbergen had already made his intention to stick with #97 clear, claiming just hours after winning the title in Sydney last December that he would ‘arm wrestle’ team boss Roland Dane over which number to run.

As it turned out, the decision was made just 24 hours later, on the Sunday night after the Sydney 500.

“We had it all sorted on the Sunday night after Sydney,” van Gisbergen told “But it’s cool to make it formal.

“Roland was happy with it as long as I could convince the crew working on my car. A few of those guys have worked very hard for a number of years to win the title, so some of them wanted the #1, but in the end I got it across the line.

“The way we won the championship, a 1-2 with Jamie, we didn’t need to show off.

“I’ve always been #97. I’ve used that number for most of my career and it’s the year I started racing, so I’m really happy to be able to continue with it.”

The confirmation of van Gisbergen’s race number comes shortly after the newly-branded Red Bull Holden Racing Team released a teaser video with a sneak peek of its 2017 livery.