Motorsport: Kiwi Heimgartner needs big weekend back home

By Dale Budge

Andre Heimgartner during practice for the V8 Supercars Clipsal 500. Photo / Getty Images
Andre Heimgartner during practice for the V8 Supercars Clipsal 500. Photo / Getty Images

While much of the focus at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint will be on leading Kiwis Shane van Gisbergen, Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard there is another Kiwi with a lot riding on this week's action.

Andre Heimgartner is off-contract at the season's end and will be hoping to turn around a season of poor results with something that better showcases his talent as he tries to negotiate a drive for next year.

The Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Holden driver has suffered from a range of issues this year to see him languishing in 25th on the championship ladder. There certainly hasn't been much luck on his side and as he tries to stitch together a new deal a big result in Pukekohe could be a game-changer.

"We have got a few leads here and there," Heimgartner tells herald.co.nz. "There are a few options.

"Obviously it relies on sponsorship and a few other things.

"Hopefully we will know within the next week."

One option for the 21-year-old is to return to LDM but the team's future is a little up in the air. Senior driver Nick Percat has agree to a move to Brad Jones Racing next year and there is a possibility the team enters just one car in 2017.

"Lucas is changing a little bit next year with how he's running his operation," Heimgartner says. "It might be one car there or maybe two. Then obviously there are seats open at Erebus and a couple of other places.

"I'd say it is an 80 percent chance [he'll return to the team next year]. We are still searching for a little bit more sponsorship but it is close.

"It would be nice this weekend to have some good results. A top 10 result - for me or Nick - would be huge for the team."

Heimgartner is in a unique position where he holds down a fulltime job on top of his racing career. He took a job in the finance industry at the beginning of the year when it appeared he wouldn't get a fulltime seat. But the opportunity to drive with LDM came along and he decided to juggle both.

"I work almost fulltime at Stratton Finance. It is hard to get that balance in life right.
"I get up at 5.30-6am and go train and then work for 9-10 hours and then train again after work and so I get home about 7.30-8pm.

"It is good mentally. It keeps you busy and stimulated. It also brings you back to reality when you sit at a desk 8-9 hours a day it makes you realise how lucky you are to go racing."

- NZ Herald

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