Balancing act

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 17/07/2016
  • By Kassie Gadeke

What do Supercars drivers do away from the race track? For 21-year old Andre Heimgartner, it’s juggling gym work with a data entry consulting job in finance, and studying for his Cert 4 in finance and mortgage broking.

The youngest full-time driver in the field races for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport on the weekends, but finds his work with Stratton Finance in Port Melbourne motivates him to push forward as a driver and gives him another focus when he’s suffered disappointments on track.

Earning a certificate in personal training last year, Heimgartner says he’s “trying to broaden myself as an individual”.

It’s Heimgartner’s second year in the Championship after tackling 2015 with Super Black Racing and being ejected from the seat with two rounds to go.

“Towards the end of last year with all the stuff with Super Black, it gets you down and it can consume you ... but when you do a day-to-day job you soon realise that being a race car driver is pretty cool,” he told supercars.com.

“It does keep my motivation up … waiting for the next race meeting, thinking about all that. It keeps me on my toes.

“Last year, I had a lot of free time and now I have hardly any.

“I feel a lot better about it – I’m getting up at 5am in the morning going to the gym, then work at 7 until 5 or 530, going to the gym again and I don’t come home until about 7.30pm. I think it’s good to be busy, keep your mind going.”

The swap from Super Black, which is run out of Championship-winning Prodrive Racing Australia, was a culture change for Heimgartner, who now plays a more involved role at LDM.

As a second year driver, he thinks it is important to be a leader of a smaller group and tries to pick up as much as possible.

“I think is a necessary building block,” he said. 

“It never comes easily to champions – Jamie Whincup obviously got the boot from Garry Rogers back in the day and did make his way back up. I’m sure he learnt a lot during the period, so it’s just one of those things, one of those learning curves…

“It makes you dig a bit deeper as a driver because you don’t have the equipment other people have under you.

“We work hard on everything we can ourselves to get the most out of what we’ve got and that helps you as well … you do doubt yourself sometimes when you’re struggling but it’s one of those things, if you’re not struggling or battling you’re not learning.”

Last year in the Ford Falcon FG X, Heimgartner had his best qualifying result of the season at Queensland Raceway, where the Supercars race next weekend.

While it’s a different scenario this time around, in a developing LDM car, Heimgartner has more confidence going to the ‘paperclip’ and racing in the pack.

“I had the car speed, but being my first year my racecraft wasn’t quite up to scratch and I got a bit bullied,” he said. 

“This year I’ve already noticed a big difference. I have a lot more respect on track, which is helping a lot. Now I’m a lot more comfortable and enjoying my driving so I’m able to race people a lot harder and not worried about making mistakes … so I’m looking forward to QR.”

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