Kelly Grove Racing confirms Heimgartner exit

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

Kelly Grove Racing has confirmed Andre Heimgartner will not race on with the team in 2022.

In a shock development in amid the 2022 Supercars silly season, Heimgartner will leave the Braeside squad.

Heimgartner joined the team in 2018 when it was a four-car Nissan Altima operation.

The 26-year-old was retained by the team alongside Rick Kelly when it downscaled to two Ford Mustangs in 2020.

Heimgartner won at The Bend in May

He was partnered by David Reynolds for 2021, and duly won his first race at The Bend Motorsport Park in May.

"This hasn't been an easy decision for either party but it became apparent over our discussions that it would be best for Andre and his career to start a new chapter and challenge," team co-owner Stephen Grove said.

"When the time comes, he will leave us with my blessing and huge goodwill from every single member of the team.

"We're proud of everything Andre has achieved with Kelly Grove Racing, but for now, we continue to focus on the rest of the 2021 championship and finishing as strong as possible."

Heimgartner scored his first Kelly podium in 2019

For some time, it appeared Heimgartner was set to race on into 2022 with the team.

However, the team - which will be a solely Grove-run operation from 2022 - confirmed Heimgartner will leave Braeside at season's end.

It coincided with the team's announcement of a new junior squad, with rising Kiwi talent Matthew Payne the inaugural inductee.

It throws a major twist in the unfolding 2022 silly season, with Heimgartner eyeing a seat for next year.

Tickford Racing, Walkinshaw Andretti United, Brad Jones Racing and Matt Stone Racing are all possible suitors for the New Zealander.

Tickford has only confirmed Thomas Randle in its 2022 line-up, although Cameron Waters is likely to remain.

Heimgartner raced out of the Tickford stable for Super Black Racing in 2015 before he moved to Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.

He also co-drove for BJR on the Gold Coast in 2017, and scored a podium which all but saved his Supercars career.

The move to Braeside saw Heimgartner score a Phillip Island podium in 2019, but his greatest successes have come in Fords.

He claimed his maiden career pole at Sydney Motorsport Park last year, before he raced from pole to victory at The Bend earlier this season.

Heimgartner held seventh for much of 2021, but a series of poor rounds from the team - with Reynolds 16th - has him 12th overall after seven rounds.

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