Shane Van Gisbergen says the participation awards of each mixed compound Supercars round is becoming too colourless, suggesting the sport should focus on a return to the single tyre weekends with a smaller allotment bank to produce a more engaging spectacle.
Van Gisbergen had a turbulent opening leg to the Darwin doubleheader after an inelegant clash in race one with Nick Percat where he spun the Brad Jones Racing pilot into teammate Todd Hazelwood at Turn 6.
The Kiwi then bounced back the following day with a pair of lonely top-four finishes, snaring a podium result in the final affair.
However, once again race results across the weekend were largely dictated by tyres with drivers running a combination of soft and hard compound rubber at different stages which led to some arbitrary results, highlighted by Anton de Pasquale scoring an emphatic maiden win after donning two green sets of softs while those rivals around him opted to run a more conservative strategy.
While tyre degradation at Hidden Valley Raceway was more stabilised than the previous few rounds from Sydney Motorsport Park it still dominated talk at the event with Van Gisbergen only one of a handful of drivers to wade into the debate.
Some 13 drivers have stood on the rostrum after 11 races, a staggering statistic Van Gisbergen has alluded as participation prizes for certain teams.
“There has been a lot said about the tyres and not about the actual racing, so it is a bit average in that regard and feels like a lot of participation awards are being handed out,” said Van Gisbergen in an interview with NewsTalkZB.
“But it is what it is, and we have to adapt and work out which races are the lottery races and put our best tyres on for those ones.
“It just doesn’t feel like pure racing, but it is what it is and you have to adapt.”
The Kiwi went on to add it is largely impossible to second-guess what other drivers up and down the pitlane are going to do for each event due to the arbitrary nature of the regulations.
“Well you can pre-plan it all you like and plan what others are going to do but they will normally end up doing the opposite which happened to me in Sydney.
“But I think this weekend where we just have one compound but still have fewer tyres is the better strategy and makes racing more exciting.
“But when you have soft and hard in creates too much of a gimmick, the proper racing is certainly much better.”
After his third-place finish in Darwin in the final race of the weekend Van Gisbergen is clinging onto fourth in the championship standings, some 271 points adrift of runaway leader Scott McLaughlin. Behind the Red Bull driver sits a gaggle of five drivers within 80 points of stealing away the position as Supercars enters its final half of its truncated 2020 season.
“Personally, I think [McLaughlin] has leapt ahead again and is doing a very good job as usual.
“They [DJR Team Penske] are certainly the focus for our performance so we can get better and match them.
“But I haven’t paid any attention to the points; there is still some way to go.”
Van Gisbergen picked up his own milestone over the weekend where he celebrated his 400th race start, 13 years since he made his debut with Team Kiwi Racing at Oran Park as a spotty-face teenager.
The Kiwi returns to action this weekend for the Crown Staff Darwin SuperSprint for round six of the championship and the second leg in a month-haul of four successive Supercars rounds.