Heimgartner hoping move will ‘refresh enthusiasm in racing’

Andre Heimgartner. Picture: AJP Photography

Andre Heimgartner is hopeful a shift of states and teams will reinvigorate his enthusiasm in Supercars.

Earlier this week it was revealed Heimgartner and Kelly Grove Racing will part ways at the close of the 2021 season.

The 26-year-old has been part of the furniture at the Braeside base since 2018 when he replaced the outgoing Todd Kelly.

Heimgartner’s arrival to the team came after a pivotal performance co-driving on the streets of the Gold Coast alongside Tim Slade with Brad Jones Racing that caught the attention of his current boss.

In his three-and-a-half seasons with the team to date through its various guises, Heimgartner has claimed one win and a further four podium finishes.

In that time, he’s only been engineered by Dilan Talibani, who won’t follow Heimgartner to his new team. The duo had previously worked together in 2015 at Tickford Racing satellite Super Black Racing.

“For sure, it’s not easy to depart a team,” Heimgartner told Speedcafe.com.

“When we both decided it was time to part ways it was obviously very sad. You build up these relationships over so many years.

“My engineer, Dilan, I’ve been working with him for over six years. He’s an amazing person and we’ve been great friends over the years.

“For sure, there’s so many elements to it, which I guess are a bit upsetting. Sometimes you need to do these things to move on and to challenge yourself and refresh your enthusiasm in racing.

“The Groves, they’ve no doubt got big plans for the team and they’re going to turn things around and whatnot,” he added.

“For sure, leaving is not as clear cut as you’d want. If they were performing terribly and there was no hope, it could be very easy to walk out the door and not feel bad about it.

“To this day, I still think we made the right decision and together they decided and we decided it was best that I explore other options.

“If they’re winning races in a few years, for sure, I’m going to be thinking maybe I should have just stayed there.

“You can’t predict the future. I don’t have a crystal ball in front of me. You just have to go off what you know now is the main thing and what will make me happy.”

While Heimgartner said he’ll be sad to leave Kelly Grove Racing, he’s also excited about what’s ahead.

It’s expected the Kiwi will join Brad Jones Racing, simultaneously moving from Melbourne to the Gold Coast. Brad Jones Racing’s headquarters are located in Albury on the border of New South Wales and Victoria, but the team has often had drivers based interstate.

Part of that move from Victoria to Queensland is down to the climate, Anton De Pasquale and Nick Percat recently making the move.

“I’m very excited, it’s something I’m looking forward to,” said Heimgartner of his new team.

“It’s a change on the track and off the track as well with me being able to move states. I think it’s going to be really good for me mentally.

“Change is as good as a holiday and to be able to go to a new team, new challenges, new faces, and go live somewhere new – the Gold Coast, it probably has better weather, and just enjoying my existence a little more – I think for me personally it’ll all result in some better results on the track.

“Melbourne is a wonderful place, but all the lockdowns made it pretty difficult for me to train and live my life. It made the decision easier for me. I’ve lived there seven years now, so it’s done its dash.

“I had the opportunity to move, so I’m really looking forward to that. I spoke to a few people who have moved there and they love it. They say it’s the best thing they ever did, moving there; I’m just going to follow that lead, give it a go, and see what happens.”

Heimgartner said confirmation of his new deal is “hopefully not too far away”.

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