Bathurst 1000 victor Shane van Gisbergen will be trading slicks for dirt over the course of the next few weeks as he takes on some of New Zealand’s top speedway events.
The Kiwi is set to contest the International Midget Grand Slam Series from Western Springs in the build up to the new year running a United Truck Parts-owned King chassis Midget.
Last year the car was run by NASCAR driver Nascar racer Christopher Bell and Australian Kaidon Brown.
The four-round International Midget Grand Slam will kick off on Boxing Day at Western Springs and conclude with a 50-lap finale on January 4 at the Auckland venue.
Van Gisbergen took to the Baypark Speedway clay quarter mile in Mount Maunganui last Saturday where he experienced a baptism of fire as he adapted to his first dirt event in several years.
A few mechanical gremlins hindered his early heat races, but the 31-year-old did manage to record a top-ten finish in the night’s feature race.
“We lost the second race with a puncture, so we were kind of a race behind,” van Gisbergen said.
“The races are short. I was just warming up and it was all over. It was only a three-minute race and normally I’m used to an hour and a half.”
Multiple series champion Michael Pickens claimed top honours after executing a late move on Kapiti racer Jamie Larsen with six laps remaining.
Van Gisbergen made a welcome return to Aotearoa after a largely successful Supercars campaign when he dominated the City of Auckland Rally in his class.
He would go on to win the inaugural Battle of Jack’s Ridge the following day to round off an incredible rallying debut.