Kelly Racing has confirmed a new multi-year deal with Andre Heimgartner to complete its 2020 Supercars Championship driver line-up as the team switches to Ford Mustangs.
Heimgartner had been expected to retain a seat at the Braeside operation which will downsize from four to two cars next season as part of a new partnership with Ford and Ford Performance.
The 24-year-old will partner experienced driver and team co-owner Rick Kelly in the outfit’s Mustangs.
Confirmation of a new deal will see Heimgartner begin his third season at Kelly Racing next year after the squad resurrected his full-time Supercars career in 2018.
Driving an ageing Nissan Altima, the New Zealander has enjoyed a strong 2019 campaign that has yielded a maiden solo podium at Phillip Island in addition to a further five top 10 finishes.
“Kelly Racing backed me to return to Supercars, and it’s fantastic to lock down the future and continue this journey together,” said Heimgartner, who had been hoping to secure a new deal with the team.
“It was always my preference to stick by the team that has supported me and the opportunities for next year are really the icing on the cake.
“The change to the Ford Mustang for next year, and working with Ford Performance, has everyone in the team excited, and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel.
“That said, I have an important job to finish off this season on a high after a challenging couple of events, and with our recent pace, feel we can be in a strong position at both Sandown and Newcastle.”
Team co-owner Todd Kelly has long been keen to sign up Heimgartner to a new deal with the team having been impressed by the young gun.
“It is great to have Andre locked away for the future and ensures that we have a strong line-up across our two Mustangs for 2020. It is important that we future-proof the team and, at only 24, Andre has many years of driving ahead of him,” said Todd Kelly.
“In the last two years, it has been terrific to witness first-hand Andre’s development as a driver and with the opportunities ahead next year there’s no doubt that he’ll be highly competitive in a Mustang.”
Meanwhile, the announcement confirms current drivers Simona De Silvestro and Garry Jacobson will no longer race in the main game for the squad.
Likewise, Jacobson, who is in his rookie year this season, has been heavily linked to a drive at Matt Stone Racing.
Although excited for the future, Todd Kelly has paid tribute to the efforts made by De Silvestro, who joined the squad in 2017, and its 2019 recruit Jacobson.
“Kelly Racing would like thank Simona De Silvestro for her commitment and contribution to the team over the last three seasons, and Garry Jacobson, who joined the team at the start of the 2019 season and has also been a terrific team player,” said Kelly.
“Both Simona and Garry are great drivers, and we wish them all the best for their future.”
Kelly Racing has confirmed Heimgartner is likely to drive a Mustang Supercar for the first time early next year.