The benefit of Heimgartner's weekend 'on the cans'
Repco Supercars Championship
By Charlie Bullis
A rare weekend “on the cans” has opened the door for Andre Heimgartner to focus on a future in race engineering.
The Kelly Grove Racing driver spent last weekend at Phillip Island helping amateur driver Graham Williams in Porsche Sprint Challenge.
In a complete role reversal for the Supercars driver, Heimgartner managed the team’s performance across the weekend.
However, he admitted he still called on his own engineer, Dilan Talabani, for advice.
“I rung up Dilan and had a bit of a laugh, and he told me some of the things I should say,” he told Supercars.com.
“His favourite is, ‘I know the car is s**t but you have another 35 laps to go’.
“It’s good to see it from another point of view though, instead of me getting told I need to find half a second here or there, I can just tell Graham, and he tries to go and find it.”
Heimgartner is no stranger to Porsches, having finished second overall in the 2017 Australian Carrera Cup series.
His impressive performances paved the way to a Supercars return with Kelly Racing in 2018.
While he has formed a strong Supercars career since, his experience over the weekend at Phillip Island, helped him prove he has a wider understanding of engineering beyond his own Ford Mustang Supercar.
“It was good [to help] Graham, who is an amateur in the Porsche series,” said Heimgartner, who was joined by Supercars rival Nick Percat at the Victorian circuit.
“I’ve known him 2017 when I was out of Supercars and raced in Carrera Cup. He was my teammate, we have built up a good relationship.
“He asked me if I wanted to go along and be on the cans and that kind of stuff.
“Thinking about the process also, we hear the whole backend of it, we hear race control, we hear how it all works behind the scenes.
“It’s always good to get that and makes you understand the rules a bit more.”
Heimgartner heads to Sandown this weekend having started the last race at the iconic venue on the front row.
It comes after he recorded finishes of 15th and ninth at the Repco Mt Panorama 500 last month to lie 10th in the championship.