Heimgartner channelled Richards in spirited Taupō charge

23 Apr
Andre Heimgartner ultimately ended up just 1.6970s from an emotional Jason Richards Memorial Trophy win
3 mins by James Pavey
  • Andre Heimgartner spurred on by memory of Jason Richards

  • Heimgartner hunted down positions to win Richards Trophy on Sunday

  • Kiwi driver ended up just six points away from overall honours

The memory of Jason Richards spurred Andre Heimgartner on in the closing laps of the ITM Taupō Super400, which ultimately saw overall honours narrowly go begging.

The Saturday race winner ended up just six points away from an emotional Jason Richards Memorial Trophy victory on home soil in Sunday’s race.

Heimgartner started 11th and worked his way through the field, and was hunting James Golding for fifth, which would have been enough for the Richards Trophy.

The #8 R&J Batteries Camaro ended up just 1.6970s behind Golding’s #31 PremiAir Nulon Camaro, with the difference between fifth and sixth nine points.

It came after Heimgartner narrowly missed out on overall honours at the last New Zealand round in Pukekohe, with countryman Shane van Gisbergen taking the victory.

“I actually got geed up a bit because they said two more spots and then I made up two spots, and it ended up being I needed another one on top of that,” said Heimgartner, who looked up to the skies when he won on Saturday.


“Incredibly proud of our team this weekend. Getting a win yesterday was very special. Today, managed to battle it out and get a result.

“Got so close last time at Pukekohe, and this time we were about 10 points off or whatever to get in the JR.

"So, it's painful, but just seeing JR's parents, they’re so proud of what BJR's able to do. When we come here, we always lift and gave it a good crack.”

heimgartner jr win taupo

When asked about the significance of racing the BJR #8 — which Richards did between 2009 and 2010 — Heimgartner replied: “When there was only two laps to go, I felt a bit of Jason channelling through me.

“It's something special, related to that car and that number and this team. So, it means a lot to Brad and everyone."

Heimgartner hailed his team’s efforts to execute a smart turnaround, given BJR’s struggles in the first two rounds of the 2024 season. The Aucklander cited a pre-event rookie test day for Jaxon Evans as being key to the rebound, and suggested another similar test could uncover more answers.

“We're heading in the right direction. We've cured a few big issues we had,” he said.

“We’ll be looking to do hopefully another rookie test or something to discover more and hopefully make more steps in the right direction.

"But everyone's very geed up. They're very excited and we're just glad we managed to turn around this season."

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