There’s nothing to prove that Shane van Gisbergen isn’t actually a freak of nature with a big beard and a bigger right foot.
The man known as “The Giz” – the Australian V8 Supercars ace and McLaren GT factory driver – played an integral role in McLaren GT capturing a major endurance victory for the first time in more than 20 years, as he co-drove with Alvaro Parente and Jonathan Webb to secure the win in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race in the No. 59 Tekno Autosports McLaren 650S GT3.
Van Gisbergen stole the headlines and the track record with a best time of 2:01.286 around Mount Panorama on Friday to capture the Allan Simonsen Pole Trophy.
“SVG” then walked the field in the early hours of Saturday’s (Sunday in Australia) race before electrical gremlins ground Parente to a halt after he got in, and cost them about 45 seconds.
Nevertheless, a near faultless drive from there – plus an abnormal strategy the rest of the way that eventually led to needing less time in the pits for the final stop – helped deliver the victory. For good measure, van Gisbergen added a 2:01.567 lap in the race itself.
Nissan, which won the race last year, finished second with a lineup of Katsumasa Chiyo, Florian Strauss and Rick Kelly in their Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3. The “Bentley Boys” made it on the podium with Guy Smith, Steven Kane and (British) Matt Bell in their Bentley Continental GT3.
The win is the first marquee endurance race victory for McLaren since its 1995 overall triumph at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the McLaren F1 GTR.