Andre Heimgartner set to celebrate 200th race in Darwin
Brad Jones Racing driver Andre Heimgartner will record a major milestone in Darwin – his 200th race in Supercars.
The 27-year-old Kiwi has been a regular on the podium during the previous two rounds at Perth and Winton and has moved his way back up from 18th to 12th in the Supercars Championship points – just 23 points from 9th position.
“It has been great for the team to have a solid run and to find some much needed form. I am very much looking forward to the rest of the year and to improving further to secure more podiums and wins,” Andre said.
Heimgartner’s Supercars career began at his Bathurst 1000 debut in 2014 with Super Black Racing which was a Prodrive Racing Australia satellite operation owned and established by the late Tony Lentino who was the New Zealand team owner.
“It was such an unreal experience for me to look around with 30 laps to go and oh shit there’s Craig Lowndes and Mark Winterbottom you know because you see it on TV as a kid in New Zealand…and all of sudden your out there against these famous legends of the sport – and you’re just trying not to make any mistakes!” Andre recalled.
Heimgartner went on to drive almost the entirety of the 2015 Supercars season with Super Black Racing before signing with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport for the 2016 season alongside Nick Percat.
In 2017, Andre drove for Mick Ritter at Sonic Racing where he registered several race wins and round wins in the #777 Bob Jane T-Marts entry in the one-make Porsche Carrera Cup Australia series finishing 2nd overall in the Championship. He also secured a co-drive with Brad Jones Racing and Tim Slade after Ash Walsh was ruled out with injury. Heimgartner and Slade recorded a podium at the 2017 Gold Coast 500 which was the catalyst that kick-started his Supercars career.
In 2018, Heimgartner drove for Nissan Motorsport and Kelly Racing in the Plus Fitness #7 Nissan Altima. In 2019, he continued with Kelly Racing and Plus Fitness and recorded podiums at Phillip Island and Sandown. In 2020, he switched to a Kelly Racing Ford Mustang sponsored by NED Whisky and recorded more podiums at The Bend. In 2021, he continued with Kelly Racing in the NED Whisky Mustang and recorded his first Supercars race victory at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia.
“The first race win is always a special moment for any driver. Its something I’ve aimed for since I was a kid watching Supercars. It was a massive relief given the years of commitment and sacrifice to get to that day and for my family and the people who have backed me over here and in New Zealand,” Andre said.
In 2022, Heimgartner is having a stand-out season mixing it up, regularly battling in races with defending Champion Shane van Gisbergen, Chaz Mostert and David Reynolds – and more podiums with Brad Jones Racing and the Kiwi is really enjoying his time at the Albury-based BJR family outfit.
“The Albury team with Brad has been amazing and welcoming for me. I felt almost straight away that I fit in like a glove and was just able to get on with my job with ease. I think that fact they are based in a remote area creates a community feel amongst the team,” Andre said.
He is looking forward to turning his attention to tracks like Darwin and Townsville where BJR has had some outstanding race results in the previous five or six years.
“Hidden Valley is a great circuit which always produces entertainment and different team strategies,” Andre said.
“Something we need to work on now is to be strong from the start of the weekend and to keep evolving the car. The level of competition is so high now every round that you need to keep up with the evolution of the track and what everyone else around you is doing.
“My job in Darwin is to get the R&J Batteries BJR Commodore up the front and that’s where my focus is,” Heimgartner said.
BBR Managing Director Ben Blackburn said: “It is fantastic to see Andre Heimgartner in a consistently fast car being not just competitive but getting the job done,” Ben said.
“He is driving extremely well at BJR – passing plenty of cars and taken himself up to another level – I still think he will win a race this season to be honest.
“We also wanted to celebrate and reflect on his 200th milestone race in Darwin and his outstanding contribution to Supercars over the past seven seasons,” Ben said.
Stuart Moulding from Civiltrain.nz has been a loyal Andre since the start of his motorsport career in New Zealand and said:
“We are extremely proud to be celebrating Andre’s 200th start and continued improvement over the years. Being his longest standing sponsor, we have been there from race 1 with Super Black right through to today. To be part of his success over the years has been a tremendous journey with immense fulfilment over the years. It won’t be long before we are celebrating another Andre win,” Stuart said.
Andre’s other sponsors include: Tasman Auto Group, 1 Percent Performance, Driving Solutions, Wagga Motors, Watch Vault, Stilo, Hamilton Asphalts, MYDFX natural foods and supplements, Nourishd, Swift Supplements.
The 2022 Supercars season will resume at the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown at Hidden Valley on June 17th-19th.