Team Kiwi Racing development driver Andre Heimgartner's impressive performance in last weekend's round of the Carrera Cup at Surfer's Paradise has earned him the chance to compete for a partly-funded Porsche factory drive in the 2013 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
It is run as a support category to the Formula One championship, and the opportunity continues a quick rise for the 17-year-old student at St Kentigern High School in Auckland who took the opportunity to drive the Team Kiwi Racing Porsche 997 earlier this year.
Finishing with two fifths 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 felt 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," Team Kiwi Racing boss David John said.
"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.
"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. In the meantime, John will meet with potential new sponsors in the hope of raising 600,000 needed to compete should Heimgartner win.
Heimgartner is sixth in the title standings and the leading rookie with one round left in the Carrera Cup.
"I'm really honoured to win the award," he said. "I'll do my best to represent Carrera Cup Australia and Team Kiwi Racing.
"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."