Kiwi rejoins Supercars fold for this weekend's Gold Coast 600
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Andre Heimgartner will contest both the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 and the final round of the 2017 Carrera Cup Australia Championship this weekend after receiving another call-up to the ‘main game’ with Brad Jones Racing.
On the same weekend he took out the Carrera Cup round win at Mount Panorama, the 22-year-old was a late call-up to the respected Supercars outfit BJR to race in the biggest event of the Supercars calendar - the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
In the face of the last-minute nature of the drive, Heimgartner impressed with consistently fast times in tricky wet conditions despite having only had 15 practice laps in what was a wholly unfamiliar car before stepping into the big race.
After bringing home BJR’s #14 Freightliner Australia Holden Commodore in ninth place, the young racer has been drafted to race alongside Tim Slade once again in the final round of the Pirtek Enduro Cup. He replaces Ash Walsh, who continues to recover from injuries sustained in late September during a Phillip Island prototype testing crash.
The Gold Coast drive follows hot on the heels of a trip to China for the Melbourne-based Kiwi, who raced in the final round of the 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia championship for leading GT-outfit Craft Bamboo Racing at the weekend, bringing home 2nd place yesterday in an inspired drive alongside Devon Modell. Heimgartner was subbing for Nick Foster, who was unavailable for the event due to it being rescheduled.
“After having such a good experience with Brad Jones Racing at Bathurst, I am ecstatic to have this call-up to race with the team on the Gold Coast this weekend,” Heimgartner said.
“Despite the fact that my Bathurst drive with them was last-minute and Friday morning especially was a bit rushed as a result, I felt instantly comfortable with the team and they made me feel very welcome all weekend long with a friendly atmosphere which I really enjoyed.
“To get the call-up again for this weekend is an opportunity I wasn’t expecting, but which I am very grateful for. It is going to be another busy weekend, but one which I am very much looking forward to.
“Of course, I want to wish Ash Walsh a speedy recovery – I can’t imagine what he is going through at the moment and the last thing you want to do is take a seat away from someone, especially in this circumstance. Hopefully we will be able to see Ash in good health and back behind the wheel soon.”
Photo / Matthew Hansen
Heimgartner raced full-time in the Supercars championship in 2015 and 2016, with this weekend marking his 29th Supercars round start. This year, he has been competing in the Carrera Cup Australia title, in which he is currently second. This weekend is the final round for the 2017 championship chase, with sixty-two points separating Heimgartner from championship leader David Wall.
“The Supercars news is very exciting and I am really looking forward to racing with BJR again, but at the same time, I also have to keep my eye on the Carrera Cup Australia prize,” Heimgartner said.
“After leading the championship early and now chasing David Wall, this title has been something I have been working towards all year long and with the final round hitting the track this weekend, I am going to be throwing everything I can at it.
“After the results at Bathurst, I am feeling confident of a strong result this weekend, but as we know, anything can happen on the streets of the Gold Coast!
“What I do know for sure is that I head there with a great car under me and an amazing team around me – I can’t thank Sonic Motor Racing Services enough for their support and their hard work all-season long. I hope I can bring home a great result for them this weekend.”
Friday October 20 will host two Carrera Cup practice sessions (9.40am and 12.45pm) as well as qualifying at 3.50pm. Meanwhile, the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship proceedings will include three practice sessions (10.55am, 2.00pm – co-drivers only, and 4.55pm).
On Saturday October 21, qualifying will be held for the Supercars at 11.00am, ahead of Carrera Cup’s first race for the weekend at 11.45am. The first Supercars race of the weekend will then kick off at 2.25pm and run for 102 laps.
Another 102 lap Supercars race will be held on Sunday from 2.25pm, but not before two Carrera Cup races (9.00am and 1.05pm), Supercars qualifying (9.55am) and the Armor All Top Ten Shootout (11.45am).