Heimgartner Becomes Dick Johnson Development Driver
19 FEBRUARY 2014
Heimgartner Becomes Dick Johnson Racings Development Driver
Fast rising New Zealand motor racing star, Andre Heimgartner, has been signed to iconic Australian V8 Supercar team Dick Johnson Racing's Junior Development Driver Programme. Thanks to the support of Wilson Security and Crimsafe that will see Heimgartner take a hands on role working alongside the team's 2014 drivers, Scott Pye and David Wall. Heimgartner was actively involved with the team at the first V8 Supercar outing of the season, the annual test day at Sydney Motorsport Park last Saturday, where he did 15 laps in one of the teams cars alongside all the regular drivers in the V8 Supercar main game. The recognition of the young kiwi's talent by a leading team is a very significant development in the high achieving teenagers career. Dick Johnson himself said recently, "Andre is a talent we had to latch on to."
While he will be very much a part of DJR this season Andre will also contest a full season in the Dunlop Development Series with Matt White Racing, starting at Adelaide in a fortnight. Incredibly, despite his youth, this will be the fourth time that Heimgartner has raced at the prestigious Clipsal 500 meeting on the demanding streets of Adelaide having first raced there as a fourteen year old in Formula Ford. That is an indication of the experience Andre has accumulated in his brief career. An established V8 SuperTourer driver in his own country Andre is currently second behind the experienced Greg Murphy in that highly competitive series after two rounds of the 2014 championship. He has raced New Zealand's equivalent of V8 Supercars since their inception two seasons ago, finishing inside the top ten on each occasion. This year he has taken a more strategic approach to the series and rather than chasing race wins at every opportunity the championship is his focus.
From Dannemora, Auckland East in New Zealand Heimgartner began karting in his home country and by the age of twelve he was competing in Formula First. At the age of fourteen he won the Winter Formula Ford Championship at Manfeild followed by a South Island Formula Ford Championship title. He then became the youngest ever New Zealand Formula Ford Champion at the age of fifteen. Some Formula Ford appearances in Australia followed before Heimgartner made it back to back NZ Formula Ford titles the following year.
His first V8 SuperTourer campaign followed while he also contested the Porsche Carrera Cup in Australia, finishing a fine seventh in the series. In doing so he notched up another milestone, becoming the youngest driver anywhere in the world to race a Carrera Cup car at the age of sixteen. Last year Heimgartner stepped up to the Dunlop V8 Supercar Development Series and this year he returns in a leading team.
There have been many other achievements during his career that add up to an extremely impressive motor racing CV for one so young. A one-off Formula 3 drive with Erebus Motorsport and several appearances at Bathurst in a variety of machinery including a win in the Production Turbo Class at the 2013 Bathurst 12 Hour race amongst them.
A huge 2014 year looms but there is no doubt that the talented kiwi will be working very hard to repay the faith shown in his ability.