Supercars 2021: Former champ Shane van Gisbergen determined to keep Kiwi flag flying with McLaughlin gone

For the past few years, Kiwis have dominated the Supercars championship, with Scott McLaughlin winning three titles in a row.

But his departure to Indycars in America means a new champion will be crowned this season, and compatriot Shane van Gisbergen is as hungry and motivated as ever to continue the NZ dominance for his second Supercars crown.

‘The Giz’ has been test-driving a Toyota racing series car, which he’ll control in the NZ Grand Prix later this month.

“When you drive these things, you have to remember to do the helmet strap right up or the helmet tries to blow off your head,” he laughs. “There are bugs flying on it and no changing room - she's completely different, but it's awesome.”

The GP will be van Gisbergen's final hurrah in New Zealand, before he heads back to Australia for the upcoming Supercars season and with McLaughlin gone, he’ll be one of the favourites.

“We'll be there,” he tells Newshub. “We’ve got the fastest car, best team - we just have to get everything right.”

Kiwi Supercars legend Greg Murphy agrees: “Shane will be very competitive, they do have a great team.”

But McLaughlin's departure not only eliminates a Supercars contender, but also another Kiwi off the grid.

New Zealanders have dominated in recent years, winning four of the past five championships, but it'll be up to Fabian Coulthard - who has changed teams - Andre Heimgartner and van Gisbergen to fly the flag.

“Fabian will still be in a Triple Eight car and Andre's getting better every year,” agrees van Gisbergen.

But the defending Bathurst champion might be the best-placed of them all to compete for the championship.

“We’ve won both Bathurst and the championship, but still more than ever, I want to do it again.”

But his quest for both titles will come after the NZ Grand Prix.