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Heimgartner to race real F1 drivers in virtual Vietnam Grand Prix

Simon Chapman

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Thursday 2nd April, 2020 - 8:01pm

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Andre Heimgartner

André Heimgartner has been confirmed to race for Renault as part of an all-star line-up in next week’s virtual Vietnam Grand Prix.

Heimgartner joins an all-star line-up of drivers, which includes current Formula 1 drivers Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell, Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi.

The 24-year-old New Zealander has been handpicked to race in the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series by Kelly Racing sponsor BP-Castrol who also backers of Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo.

It’s only the second time F1 has held a Virtual Grand Prix after the maiden Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix in late March.

While next Monday’s event will be known as the Virtual Vietnam Grand Prix, the race will take place on the simulated Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit.

The F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series is using the 2019 video game, which currently does not feature the Hanoi Street Circuit.

“As far as Formula 1 goes on a simulator, I’ve got very limited experience for me,” said Heimgartner.

“I’ve only driven it once or twice. I’ve got a big couple of days getting up to speed talking to the guys at Renault finding out what the tips and tricks are.

“It should be pretty good. If we can just go out there and have a bit of fun and hopefully do alright, then that’s a bonus.”

Former full-time Formula 1 drivers Esteban Gutierrez and Stoffel Vandoorne will compete for Mercedes while ex-Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg will also race.

International celebrities including Golfer Ian Poulter, Olympic medalist Chris Hoy, and Liam Payne of One Direction.

“I think it’s every young driver’s dream to race in Formula 1 and to get to do it online against some of the best in the world will be something I’ll never forget,” Heimgartner added.

“I’ve got a bit of Eracing experience which I think will help, but it will be interesting to see how
different it is compared to Supercars.

“I’m grateful to BP-Castrol or putting my name forward and hopefully I do Supercars and everyone at Kelly Racing proud; I’m looking forward to it.”

This weekend’s Virtual Vietnam Grand Prix fills the void of the postponed Vietnamese Grand Prix, which was set to take place over April 3-5.

The race begins at 6:00 AEST on April 6 and will be broadcast live in Australia on Fox Sports and Kayo. Sky Sports in New Zealand will also broadcast the race live.

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