You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Shane van Gisbergen has confirmed he will leave V8 Supercars at the end of the season.
The New Zealand 23-year-old signed a new three-year deal with Stone Brothers Racing only six months ago, before the team switched from Ford to Mercedes-Benz for next year.
It is understood that while van Gisbergen enjoyed racing, he had become tired of some aspects of the sport - but has refused to specify the reasons for his departure.
In a statement released today, van Gisbergen said: "Today I am announcing that I will be leaving Stone Brothers Racing and the sport of V8 Supercars. Contrary to media reports, I do not wish to race for another V8 Supercar team and my decision to leave the sport has in no way been caused by Ross and Jimmy's decision to switch manufacturers in 2013 or the team's partnership with Erebus Motorsport.
"I am leaving V8 Supercars due to personal reasons which I do not wish to discuss in the public domain. I will be moving back home to New Zealand and have no fixed plans for the future.
"I have enjoyed five successful years with Stone Brothers Racing and was given a unique opportunity by the team to race V8s at a very young age, which I am very grateful for.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ross, Jimmy, my sponsors and my team for the time and money they invested in me during my V8 career," said van Gisbergen.
Team principal Ross Stone said: "SBR are disappointed to be losing such an exceptional talent and while there has been much speculation in the media regarding the reasons behind Shane wanting to leave, it is not for want of driving for another V8 team.
"Shane's motives to quit the sport are private and SBR have agreed that the best way forward for all parties is to release Shane from his current three-year contract."
Van Gisbergen will race his final V8 Supercars race at the final round of the Championship Series at Homebush on Sunday, December 2.