Major Driver Announcement: Robert van Gisbergen

The father of Bathurst champion Shane van Gisbergen has confirmed entry into this weekend’s Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge.

Robert van Gisbergen had a successful rally driving career himself during the 1980s and 1990s and last entered a competitive event in 2011.

With son Shane, the Red Bull Holden Racing Supercars star, confirmed in a Mitsubishi Mirage AP4 car, father Robert has opted to bring himself and his Ford Escort out of retirement and tackle the 2km-long purpose built WRC-calibre power stage on former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Whitford farm.

“It has been a long time since I last drove competitively,” Van Gisbergen said. “I broke my back and so I haven’t done much racing in the last few years.

“I’ve had the odd run down my gravel driveway and I just love it. This was too good an opportunity not to take part.

“I have a driver on standby if my back is too bad with it but hopefully I will be able to get through the whole event.”

While son Shane is one of the biggest names in Kiwi motorsport these days and is renowned around the world for his ability to drive almost anything, he got his driving ability from his father.

Robert van Gisbergen was a talented driver in his own right and carved out a successful domestic rallying career.

“I was a driver that had to think about budget,” Van Gisbergen senior explained. “I never really did the internationals.

“But I did a lot of rally sprints and events at Maramarua Forest or Riverhead.

“For the machinery I was in, I did pretty well I think. I have never been a trophy collector so I couldn’t tell you what I won but I was pretty happy with what I achieved.”

And while he will no doubt be keeping an eye on how Shane gets on, Robert insists there will be no competition between the pair. 

“He is another level compared to me,” Robert added.

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge features a collection of Kiwi motorsport stars from across various disciplines and will be broadcast live on Sky Sport.

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