Trackhouse Racing’s PROJECT91 has ventured to the other side of the planet to recruit three-time Supercars Champion Shane van Gisbergen to race its No. 91 Chevrolet in the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series Chicago Street Race on July 2.
The event will mark van Gisbergen’s first NASCAR race and the third for PROJECT91 after appearances by 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Räikkönen at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2022 and at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on March 26.
“I can honestly say I have dreamed about an opportunity in NASCAR, but really never thought it would become a reality,” said van Gisbergen, a native of New Zealand. “I can’t wait to get to the States to meet everyone and prepare for Chicago. It’s NASCAR’s first time on the streets of Chicago so in some ways everyone will be a rookie like me, but I don’t underestimate that it’s going to be a huge challenge.”
Trackhouse Racing – a division of Trackhouse Entertainment Group – fields the No. 99 and the No. 1 Chevrolets with drivers Daniel Suárez and Ross Chastain in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Trackhouse Owner and Founder Justin Marks created PROJECT91 last year intent on expanding the organization’s global reach by fielding a Cup Series entry for renowned international racing drivers.
“We have been very pleased with the fan reaction to Kimi’s participation the last two seasons,” said Marks.
“I’ll concede the American racing fan might not be as familiar with Shane as they are with Kimi but if you talk with anyone in Australia, New Zealand and that part of the world they will tell you he is one of the most talented drivers on the planet. He’s used to street racing in heavy cars and I think everyone will be very impressed with his performance.”
Van Gisbergen will race the No. 91 Enhance Health Chevrolet Camaro at Chicago fielded by a Trackhouse crew led by 23-time wining crew chief Darian Grubb who won a Cup Series title with Tony Stewart in 2011.
Enhance Health is an organization of health insurance experts that leverages digital technologies and a concierge experience to streamline the health insurance enrollment process. The company simplifies what is too often a time-consuming, overwhelming and confusing process by connecting users with best-in-class health insurance and Medicare plans in only a few minutes.
Founded in mid-2021 through partnership with and funding from Bain Capital, Enhance Health has grown exponentially and projects continued rapid expansion.
The No. 91 will also feature Quad Lock as an associate sponsor. The Melbourne, Australia based company has found global success selling its innovating phone mounting products in more than 100 countries around the world. It signed Van Gisbergen as a product ambassador in 2022. The Chicago races marks its first sponsors in NASCAR.
“Quad Lock is thrilled to venture into the world of NASCAR, the pinnacle of US motorsport,” said Dominic Storey, Quad Lock Sponsorship Manager.
“As Quad Lock continues its growth in the US market, the collaboration with Trackhouse Racing and the inclusion of our brand ambassador, Shane van Gisbergen, presents a fantastic alignment for everyone involved. We eagerly anticipate achieving success both on and off the track in the coming future.”
Van Gisbergen plans to arrive in America in late June and accompany the team to the June 25 Cup race at Nashville Superspeedway then be in the Trackhouse race shop the week of the Chicago race.
“There is so much I have to learn about these cars and how the races are run,” said van Gisbergen. “The learning curve will be quite steep, but I am ready for everything they will throw at me. I know a lot of Kiwi’s and Aussies will be watching and I’m honored to get this opportunity.”
The 33-year-old van Gisbergen drives a Chevrolet Camaro in the Supercars Championship for Triple Eight Race Engineering winning championships in 2016, 2021 and 2022. He owns 78 wins and 47 pole positions making him the fourth most successful driver in series history. He’s won the Bathurst 1000 in 2020 and 2022
Van Gisbergen isn’t a stranger to America finishing second in the 2015 24 Hours of Daytona in the GTD class. He’ll have a kindred soul in owner Marks who created Trackhouse Entertainment Group in 2020 after a driving career in sports cars and NASCAR. With the goal of creating a racing brand that transcends the sport, Marks formed Trackhouse Racing that took to the track in 2021 with Suárez behind the wheel.
In January 2021, the team announced a partnership with international superstar entertainer Pitbull who has been a frequent guest at NASCAR races and elevated Trackhouse’s presence through inclusion in several of his songs and music videos over the last two years.
Midway through the 2021 season, Trackhouse Racing purchased the NASCAR assets of Chip Ganassi Racing and began the 2022 season as its own two-car team with Suárez and Chastain as drivers. Chastain gave the organization its first victory at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on March 27, and won again at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 24. Suárez became the first Mexican (Monterrey) driver to win a Cup race when he dominated the Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway race in June 20. Chastain (second) and Suárez (10th) posted best career points finish in 2022. Both Trackhouse Chevrolets have raced at the front of the field repeatedly in 2023.
Van Gisbergen will join teammates Suárez and Chastain in the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race located in downtown Chicago. The event will take competitors past and through many of the city’s most renowned downtown landmarks on Michigan Avenue, South Columbus Drive, South Lake Shore Drive and the start-finish line near Buckingham Fountain.
The Cup Series will be joined by the NASCAR Xfinity Series as part of a one-of-a-kind sports and entertainment festival headlined by Miranda Lambert, The Chainsmokers, Charley Crockett, and The Black Crowes over the Fourth of July Weekend on July 1-2, 2023.