'High expectations' for Heimgartner in 2021

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 01/02/2021
  • By James Pavey

Todd Kelly and Andre Heimgartner have both signalled "high expectations" for the 2021 season amid a renewed effort from Kelly Grove Racing.

The Braeside team took the covers off Heimgartner's 2021 entry on Monday, with NED Whisky returning to back the Kiwi's Ford Mustang for a second season.

Heimgartner, who was recently stranded in New Zealand amid a travel bubble suspension, will tackle his fourth campaign with the Kelly team in 2021, having linked up with the squad in 2018 when it was a four-car Nissan operation.

The team welcomes several key additions for 2021, with the Ford squad bolstered by new investment from the Grove Group.

David Reynolds and Penrite Oil have also joined the team, with the former Bathurst winner to be engineered by former Erebus right-hand man Alistair McVean.

Having overseen Heimgartner's breakout 2020 season, which featured a maiden pole position and two podiums, team co-owner Kelly was keen watch his driver build on last year.

"We're very excited to continue our partnership with NED Whisky this season with Andre and build on some of the success we had last year," Kelly said.

"Getting that pole position and then a couple of podiums last year was a great result, considering everything that was going on behind the scenes, and we expect to keep pushing forward this year.

"We all have high expectations for Andre, there's no doubt in my mind that he can win races, he came very close to achieving that a couple of times last year.

"With the support of the Grove Group now, we have the resource and infrastructure in place to hopefully be able to give both drivers the opportunity to achieve success and take it to the front-runners.

"The whole team has been working extremely hard in the off-season to develop the cars and produce some new parts, so I’m looking forward to seeing how all of the changes perform once we get to the test day and then Bathurst."

Heimgartner has already had a fruitful off-season, recently finishing second in the New Zealand Grand Prix.

However, he is racing against the clock to be fully fit for the 2021 season opener later this month after he suffered a thumb injury at the event.

Regardless, with engineer Dilan Talabani also returning to his corner, Heimgartner expects the new season to be a "different ball-game" for his revamped team.

"It's great to continue the team's partnership with NED Whisky into the new season and have that stability in the team," said Heimgartner, who already has an existing relationship with new team co-owner Stephen Grove.

"They're a great business to work with and we did some pretty cool things together in 2020 so I'm looking forward to continuing to build on that this season.

"It's definitely going to be different ball-game this year, there's obviously been a big change in the team with the Groves coming onboard.

"We all have high expectations of where we think we should be compared to the rest of the teams in pit lane and hopefully we can get some more silverware for NED Whisky Racing.

"I'll continue to have Dilan engineer my side of the garage, we've worked together for a long time now so we have a very strong relationship.

"It will also be great to have the input of Alistair McVean, Dave Reynolds and a few other new members of the team as well which should give us some fresh ideas with setting up the cars."

Heimgartner will make his competitive return at the Repco Mt Panorama 500. Tickets are on sale now.

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Repco Supercars Championship Newsletter