Heimgartner 'forever thankful' for Kelly family

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 07/09/2021
  • By James Pavey

Andre Heimgartner has thanked the Kelly family for reviving his Supercars career as he prepares to exit the team.

It was confirmed Tuesday that Heimgartner will leave Kelly Grove Racing at season’s end.

The New Zealander joined the team in 2018, a year after he missed out on a full-time drive.

A teenage Heimgartner made his full-time debut in a Tickford Racing-prepared Super Black Racing Falcon in 2015.

Heimgartner joined the team in 2018

He sealed a move to Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport for 2016, but was replaced by teenager Alex Rullo for 2017.

A year in the Supercars wilderness almost saw Heimgartner end his motorsport career in favour of a life in finance.

However, Brad Jones Racing recruited him as a last-minute co-driver for Tim Slade following an injury for Ash Walsh.

Heimgartner duly put in one of the drives of his career in tricky conditions to help Slade to an unlikely Gold Coast podium.

It aided his signing with the Kelly squad, which retained him when it downscaled from four to two cars in 2020.

Todd Kelly embraces Heimgartner at The Bend in May

Earlier this year, he ended a 161-race wait for victory, winning from pole at The Bend Motorsport Park.

"I will be departing @kellygroveracing at season's end,” Heimgartner wrote on social media.

"We have achieved a lot in the 4 years with 5 podiums, 2 poles and a race win.

"I will forever be thankful for Todd and the whole Kelly family for taking a chance on me when I was down and out.

"Looking forward to new and exciting opportunities ahead.”

The team paid tribute to its departing driver, which is now looking for a replacement to join David Reynolds in 2022.

Heimgartner has been linked to a number of teams, including BJR and Tickford, for a 2022 drive.

Only 14 of the 25 seats available on the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship grid have been confirmed.

BJR and Tickford both have three seats unconfirmed in their four-car line-ups for next season.

Heimgartner will resume his 2021 campaign 12th in the standings, four places above teammate Reynolds.

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