What Heimgartner move means for 2022 Supercars driver market
Tuesday 7th September, 2021 - 12:00pm
A dash of madness had long been tipped for the upcoming Supercars silly season and it seems Andre Heimgartner’s departure from Kelly Grove Racing might be just the first domino to fall.
All that’s confirmed for now is that Heimgartner and KGR will part ways at season’s end.
It is, however, expected that the Kiwi race winner will land at Brad Jones Racing next to Nick Percat, who had a multi-year contract extension announced in June.
With the Smith family owning the Racing Entitlements Contract underpinning Jack Smith’s entry, that positions BJR for a decision between keeping Todd Hazelwood or Macauley Jones.
Jones has made noticeable gains in qualifying this year, but the Coca-Cola backing his car currently sports is set to be aligned directly with Chris Pither in 2022, wherever that may be. Hazelwood meanwhile rebounded from a rough start to the season to be one of the stars of the Townsville double-header.
Up and down pit lane, options are drying up.
Triple Eight Race Engineering, Dick Johnson Racing, Erebus Motorsport, the Blanchard Racing Team and Team Sydney all have their rosters locked in for next year. Some form of change at the latter would not be a shock though, it must be noted.
Team 18 should be a straightforward situation, with Scott Pye to re-sign and Mark Winterbottom’s services already under lock and key.
Walkinshaw Andretti United has a seat available alongside Chaz Mostert.
Bryce Fullwood is the incumbent, but it appears Lee Holdsworth has the inside running for the #2 seat as WAU seeks to move up the pit lane order.
Fullwood is tipped subsequently to switch to Tickford Racing, alongside Thomas Randle and Cameron Waters, an announced new deal for whom is considered just a matter of time.
In that scenario Fullwood would replace Jack Le Brocq, with the main question mark hovering around whether James Courtney and Boost Mobile continue on.
The 2010 champion has made no secret of his eagerness to stick around, and has been a regular presence in the fourth to 10th range from Tailem Bend onwards.
Matt Stone Racing has two – or if it gets its way, maybe three – seats that may draw plenty of attention.
Zane Goddard and Jake Kostecki have done a solid job in their first full seasons at MSR, but experienced drivers with backing such as Pither, or maybe even Le Brocq, could prove an attractive alternative.
And then there’s KGR, which suddenly has a vacant seat alongside David Reynolds.
Highly rated teen Matthew Payne has become a surprise front-runner for that drive, having signed a multi-year deal with the Grove Junior academy.
All in all, it makes for a logjam of talent vying for minimal available placings, with several drivers facing a scrap to stay on the grid.