New Zealand’s only dedicated V8 Supercar (V8SC) team, Super Black Racing, proved that they have the pace to sit near, if not in, the Top 10 following an impressive performance by their 19 year-old driver Andre Heimgartner at the Formula 1 Grand Prix event in Melbourne held over the weekend.
Heimgartner, originally from Auckland, sat as high as ninth during the final race and even had the eighth fastest time in the third race held yesterday, proving he is getting faster and will be a rookie to watch this season.
Heimgartner said: “Yeah it was a pretty ballsy race [race 4] but I was sick of being at the back and thought I’d give getting to the front a good crack. Although it didn’t quite work out the way I wanted it to, I’m still pretty happy with how everything went overall.
“And roll on the [Prodrive Racing Ford Falcon] FG X at the next round. I can’t wait to get into that machine to see how it goes.”
While the round was not a V8SC championship point scoring round, it was a good opportunity for Super Black Racing and Heimgartner to continue building on the pace they showed at the Clipsal 500 event in Adelaide two weeks ago.
It was also the last round for the Ford Falcon FG with Heimgartner set to have the new Prodrive Racing built Ford Falcon FG X at the next round in Tasmania, in little under two weeks time.
Super Black Racing team principal, Paul Radisich, said: “It was great to see Andre [Heimgartner] and the Super Black car break into the early teens and mix it up with fellow yet fast Kiwis McLaughlin and Coulthard during that last race as it shows we have the potential.
“We’re looking forward to getting the new FG X which we’ll be running for the first time in Tassy [Tasmania, round 3]. It was certainly an impressive end to the weekend and we [Super Black Racing] are very pleased with the result.”
The other Prodrive Racing drivers, Mark Winterbottom, Chaz Mostert and Dave Reynolds, enjoyed considerable success this weekend in the new FG X with Winterbottom and Mostert locking out 1st and 2nd respectively throughout all of the four races.
Heimgartner originally finished the final race in 14th but was relegated to 18th after the finish, following a 10 second penalty set by V8SC race officials for jumping the start.