Reigning V8 Supercars champions Triple Eight Race Engineering have announced they will expand to a three-car line-up from the 2016 season onwards, and have added star New Zealand driver Shane van Gisbergen to their driving roster.
The team, which has run in Red Bull colours since 2013, will field three cars in a full-time programme for the first time in its history, although it has once done so with a wildcard entry at the 2013 Bathurst 1000.
Also coming with the announcement was confirmation that Red Bull will remain as primary sponsor until the end of the 2017 season, with an option on 2018 and beyond.
“Given the growing trend of larger teams and the intense competition that this brings, we felt that this is the ideal time to add another entry to our championship campaign to enhance the competitive depth of the team,” team principal Roland Dane said.
“We’re all thrilled that Red Bull will be continuing their relationship with not just Triple Eight, but the category as a whole. As a team, we have achieved some truly remarkable things together and we look forward to seeing what else can grow from this partnership over the coming years on and off the track.”
The announcement of the signing of nine-time race-winner van Gisbergen (pictured top) – who currently drives a Triple Eight-prepared Holden for the TEKNO Autosports stable and finished on the podium in Race 3 of last weekend’s Clipsal 500 round – is perhaps more surprising.
Van Gisbergen’s departure will mark a major blow for the TEKNO stable, although team owner Jonathon Webb was magnanimous and determined to work with his driver to achieve success in their final season together.
“Obviously we are sorry to be losing Shane at the end of the year; we have shared a lot of success over the past two years and we are looking forward to another fantastic year together in 2015.
Having recently put pen to paper on a renewed contract with six-time championship winner Jamie Whincup, the Queensland outfit has subsequently extended a deal for the services of series veteran Craig Lowndes, who will remain with the squad until at least the end of the 2017 season.
“With Jamie, Craig and now Shane at the wheels of the Triple Eight Holdens, we will be fielding the strongest line-up in one of the world’s most closely fought categories, but for now we are focussing on the 2015 championship,” Dane added.
Image via Christian Hartung