KGR shakes down Heimgartner’s new Mustang

Kelly Grove Racing’s Brenton and Stephen Grove. Picture: Ross Gibb

Kelly Grove Racing has shaken down Andre Heimgartner’s newly-built Ford Mustang at Winton Motor Raceway today.

Earlier this year Kelly Grove Racing revealed it was in the process of building a new chassis for the New Zealander.

Initially, the new car was to have its first run in anger in August at the since postponed Sydney SuperNight.

However, that debut had to be put on ice due to the ongoing coronavirus-induced break, which is set to see the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship resume in late October.

Speaking in Townsville earlier this year, Kelly Grove Racing co-owner Stephen Grove said the team will continue developing its Gen2 cars in 2022 despite the planned mid-season arrival of Gen3.

“We haven’t stopped the development at all,” Grove told Speedcafe.com.

“We know Gen3 is coming and we’re looking forward to building them.

“If anything, we’ve done a heap more changes this year than what has been done in previous years. Yeah, we’re still pushing really hard.”

Part of that continued development is being driven by a desire to move up the pit lane pecking order.

Heimgartner, who will head to Brad Jones Racing next year, has led the team’s efforts this season, holding 12th in the drivers’ championship while team-mate David Reynolds sits 15th overall.

As it stands, the team occupies eighth in the teams’ championship, one place higher than where they finished the 2020 season. That gain though has merely come in surpassing the second Tickford Racing garage, which reduced from two cars to one this year.

“For us, it’s not so much about the championship because we’re well off that, and it’s certainly not about winning the teams’ championship, but it’s about getting further up the grid because we’re a long way back here,” Grove explained.

“That creates issues with Safety Cars, that creates issues on 10-minute qualifying sessions where you lose 30 or 40 seconds being this far back. That’ll help us next year and the year after.

“We don’t want to stop developing the cars. It’s certainly a big push from me to keep developing the cars. That’s why we’ll keep developing them.”

The fight for the fringe of the top five is a tight one with just 201 points splitting fifth to eighth in the teams’ championship.

Team 18 leads the charge at the moment on 2047 points followed by Erebus Motorsport (2000 points), Brad Jones Racing’s leading pair (1968 points), and Kelly Grove Racing (1846 points).

“It’s very, very competitive around us,” said Grove.

“If we could make up a couple of spots it’d be where our goal would be.

“We’re certainly not going to be top four or five, but if we can be just outside of that it’s something we would aspire to.

“Then next year if we run half the year with the old car and half the year with the new car, it’s going to be about trying to develop both those cars at the same time, but we won’t stop developing this car until the day we stop racing it on the track.

“A DNF is everything in the championship. We’ve got to continually work hard. They’re all good teams and there’s nothing in it.

“We’ve just got to keep working at it and hopefully we can keep developing the car.”

Kelly Grove Racing was joined by Walkinshaw Andretti United at Winton today, the Clayton-based outfit running Bryce Fullwood.

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