Team Kiwi Racing development driver Andre` Heimgartner’s impressive performance during the weekend’s round of the City Index Carrera Cup held on the streets of Surfer’s Paradise in Australia has seen him elected to compete for a partly funded Porsche factory drive in the 2013 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
Run as a support category to the Formula One championship, the opportunity is a meteoric rise for the 17-year-old St Kentigern high school student who was provided the opportunity to take the reins of the Team Kiwi Racing Porsche 997 earlier this year.
Finishing with two fifth’s and a fourth at the Gold Coast street circuit last weekend was enough for Porsche Cars Australia to seal his nomination as the driver they believed would best represent the Australasian region. Heimgartner will travel to Italy for this coming weekend’s test programme, to challenge for the opportunity to win the partly funded Porsche drive in the 2013 Supercup series.
“When I offered Andre` the opportunity early this season to race the TKR all black Porsche in Australia it was with the view it would give him the international experience and exposure needed to make a fulltime career of racing, just as we have provided a number of Kiwi drivers with similar opportunities over the years.
His consistent performance right from the first round proved that as a team we could have a successful season. The Porsche Cars Australia nomination is the icing on the cake and great recognition that all the hard work put in by the team’s supporters, sponsors and TKR staff and crew is worth it,” said Team Kiwi Racing boss David John.
“As the youngest competitor in the field he’s continually performed well beyond his years and done better at the new events than many others with years of experience. But this next test will be the toughest and most rewarding of his short career to date.”
Heimgartner will be pitted against Carrera Cup representatives from Great Britain, France, Asia, Japan, Scandinavia and Italy all vying for the international position to race the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the 2013 Mobil 1 Supercup series.
“I’m really honoured to win the award. I’ll do my best to represent Carrera Cup Australia and Team Kiwi Racing,” said Heimgartner after securing the nomination.
“Since the phone call from TKR boss David John earlier this year things have just gotten better and better. The chance to race in Australia in the TKR Porsche was a big step – a dream come true.
“I’ve gone from having a collection of die cast TKR models on my desk featuring well-known drivers like Jason Richards, Angus Fogg, John McIntyre, Craig Baird, Paul Radisich and Shane van Gisbergen to actually racing the real thing. And thanks to the team and our results the next die cast model will be of the TKR Porsche – with my name on it.
Heimgartner is now preparing to fly to Italy, while TKR owner David John meets with potential new sponsors. Needing to raise Euro$600,000 should he win, John has been buoyed by those expressing an interest in supporting the cause: “I know this sounds like a lot of money and it is but opportunities like this do not come along very often especially for a 17 year old Kiwi who has always dreamt of being a professional race car driver.
“We all like to see Kiwis do well on the international stage and with the massive media exposure this opportunity would provide New Zealand as a country, its brands and sponsors, significant international exposure. That’s on top of the patriotic sense of seeing an all-black TKR Porsche complete with silver fern livery.
“Should Andre` win this latest opportunity I am sure with a lot of hard work and support we can make this life changing opportunity become a reality – just we have at TKR for so many other Kiwi drivers over the years.”
The team has one more round of the Australian City Index Carrera Cup to contest for 2012, being held in Sydney 1-2 December. Currently sixth overall in the title standings Heimgartner is the leading rookie driver and looks set to rewarded with the title later this season.