GM Motorsports ties its many racing series together by helping to debut the crossover

inside A massive 130,000 square foot racing development center
Just north of Charlotte, Dr. Eric Warren often sees signs that GM Motorsports’ global reach produces a close-knit camaraderie.

Champions and winners of the IndyCar Series and NASCAR Cup swap cockpits in high-tech simulators. Their engineers and team managers gather in the same conference rooms to demonstrate how their vastly different cars handle on the same racetracks.

“You get this sense of energy when you come in there,” Warren told NBC Sports. “You’ll walk down the hall, and you’ll pass Will Power Kyle Larson. We have these natural intersections. We’ve been lucky to have some success, and it’s driving that environment.”

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“I want everyone at GM Motorsports to have a real sense that they were racing together and that they really mattered. So we built everything into our interaction with the teams, and you get that feeling when you come in there. I think the drivers understand that.”

A hero from another continent entered the mix this month.

Shane van Gisbergen arrived last week from Australia (where he won three Supercars titles and the prestigious Bathurst 1000 twice) to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut on the streets of downtown Chicago this weekend.

as the most recent entry In the Track House Racing Project 91 Chevrolet Camaro
Van Gisbergen spent more than 10 hours behind the wheel of a simulator at General Motors Motorsports’ Charlotte Technical Center (just a few hundred yards from Hendrick Motorsports in Concord, North Carolina).

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Flanking the front entrance of the Charlotte Tech Center are Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Camaro Cup and No. 3 Corvette driven by Jordan Taylor (GM Motorsports).

Warren, who was promoted three months ago From the NASCAR Program Director
To GM Motorsports’ competition executive, he said a third simulator will be added in mid-July to help mitigate the continued demand for seat time from each series. Although the cockpits are interchangeable, one segment is currently reserved for the next generation, and the other is split between the IndyCar Series, NASCAR Xfinity, and Truck Series.

“Everyone is always asking for time,” Warren said. “It’s going to give us more depth. As we grew the people and the technology, it became really clear that there was a lot of strength in tying production engineering for GM. It happened a lot more smoothly than I thought.”

There are more than 100 employees working at NASCAR and IndyCar, Warren said, and they are supported by about 50 software engineers.

Although they mainly improve setups for NASCAR teams like Hendrick, Trackhouse, and Richard Childress Racing, they’ve also helped drivers from other series acclimation to the Cup.

Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen, who made the first two starts in the Project 91 car at Watkins Glen International last year and the Circuit of the Americas this year, was in the Charlotte Technical Center simulation.


Jordan Taylor works with Alan Gustafson, the crew chief at Chase Elliott, ahead of his NASCAR Cup (GM Motorsports) debut.

IMSA champion Jordan Taylor, who drives a Corvette in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, logged several hours in the simulation before making his NASCAR Cup debut at COTA in place of Chase Elliott. After driving a Chevrolet in IndyCar, Connor Daly has also moved on to three Cup starts (debuting at Roval last year and then racing the Daytona 500 and Cota).

Now Van Gisbergen, 33, is the latest GM Motorsports driver in another series to dive into the Cup largely with the help of the Charlotte Technical Center.

He’s dabbled in American motorsports before—growing up as a fan of Tony Stewart (whose 2011 championship team boss Darian Grubb will take the picks on the No. 91 at Chicago) and finishing second in the 2015 Rolex 24 GTD class at Daytona—but there’s still a curve. A sharp tutorial for Van Gisbergen (who has 78 victories and 47 pole positions in Supercars).

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Shane van Gisbergen works on the uncommon feeling of pressure in a NASCAR Cup Series (GM Motorsports) car.

In addition to climbing through the window of a racing car for the first time in his life, Van Gisbergen will acclimate to pit stops without a pace limiter and some strategic nuances. Although he had a short test run on Monday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, two extended sim sessions will be his primary exposure to a Cup car before practice and qualifying on Saturday in Chicago.

“It’s going to be intense,” Van Gisbergen said. “Stops are so different. Just trying to understand that and prepare for it. I’ve always been a fan of jumping straight into the Cup Series is exciting.

“The technical side is similar (to Supercars): a big heavy car with too much horsepower and not enough tyre. This is similar to what we have. It looks tough. I try to keep my eyes open and not have too many expectations about the street circuit.”

Although Warren will meet Van Gisbergen in person for the first time this week, he has become more familiar with Supercars this year. The Camaro replaced the Holden Commodore as GM’s marque and has commanded the ZL1’s 14 consecutive victories since the Ford Mustang won the season opener.

Triple Eight Race Engineering (van Gisbergen’s team) handled the camaro homologation while GM developed the engine, but Warren says GM Motorsports has become more involved on the technical side in 2023.

“There are definitely a lot of similar things out there” from NASCAR to Supercars, Warren said. “So I think he will have an easier transition than Jenson Button or Raikkonen from F1. It probably has more to do with the tires and the characteristics of this car and the power curve of the engine which will be different. It will be exciting. Jordan Taylor at COTA did a really great job and was really impressive. Kimi V Watkins Glen was really good.”

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Shane Van Gisbergen in the simulator at Charlotte Technical Center (GM Motorsports).

Button, who drove a garage 56 Camaro at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, will make his second Cup start in Chicago, which may favor those with road and street racing backgrounds. This will mark the first street race in the 75-year history of NASCAR’s first season.

“It’s new for everyone, so I think of all the tracks Shane could appear in, he’d definitely be the least fortunate,” Warren said.

Van Gisbergen’s strong performance will go to the credit of Warren and his staff’s work at the Charlotte Tech Center, which has been in operation for about 13 months after its launch in March 2021.

Warren, who was part of the winning teams at Evernham Motorsports and RCR, and also worked for a short-lived US-based F1 start-up, has been traveling the world recently.

He has attended the Indy 500, Le Mans and World Endurance Championship event at Spa Circuit in Belgium) to learn about the various racing teams at GM Motorsports and possible future programs (and he is helping spearhead Andretti Global’s bid to join Formula One).

He’s also preparing to help other world champions make their cup debuts, which he expects to see “a lot going on, in fact.”

“Eventually you get to a critical mass of people who come to experience it, and they reconnect that these people are really good here,” Warren said. “The top-level Formula 1 drivers want to compete and have experience in the top-level series. They have definitely gained a lot of respect for the skill of the other drivers in the Cup. That was important and got more recognition in getting the word out.”


IndyCar veteran Conor Daly made his Daytona 500 debut this season (GM Motorsports).

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