All eyes will be on the unstoppable Scott McLaughlin this weekend at the Pukekohe round of the Australian Supercars but there's another Kiwi who is looking to make a mark.

Andre Heimgartner has been the biggest Kiwi improver this year and considering he's in a car most observers would regard as the oldest, and probably not the fastest, he has been consistently on the pace and leads his three Kelly Racing teammates — Rick Kelly, Simona De Silvestro and Gary Jacobs — on the points table.

Heimgartner is not one to be front and centre, more the quiet achiever who is more interested in going about his business with as little fuss as possible.

"I'm really looking forward to racing at Pukekohe," he told the Herald. "We had reasonable pace at Pukekohe last year and it's a track that I know well. We're also coming off the strong performance we had at The Bend [fifth place] a few weeks ago, so I think we can continue to move forward and deliver some positive results for the team."

Heimgartner has had a rocky start to his Supercars career beginning with the now defunct Super Black Racing, then moved to Lucas Dumbell Motorsport, followed by a wilderness year and is now in his second season with Kelly Racing.


What is impressive though, is his steady climb up the championship ladder over the past three seasons he's raced — 25th in 2016, 17th in 2018 and as he heads to Pukekohe sitting 13th and could even finish the season inside the top 10.

Andre Heimgartner has been the biggest Kiwi improver in the Supercars this year. Photo / Getty Images
Andre Heimgartner has been the biggest Kiwi improver in the Supercars this year. Photo / Getty Images

"The team has been great and we're making steady progress with the car and improving all the time. We're making inroads and working really well together and it shows in the results. I like it here [Kelly Racing] as they had faith in me and helped me grow as a driver. It's a good relationship.

"We're also getting more consistent and that helps with championship points. The aero update we've had this year have helped improve the car with better tyre life and handling.

"We started to build momentum last year and it's really paying off this season. We've had a podium [third at Phillip Island] and it would be great to get another one at my home race," he said.

To celebrate Heimgartner's Kiwi heritage, the team has produced a New Zealand-inspired livery on his car this weekend. He was 12 years old when he learned to drive a Nissan Skyline around Pukekohe before graduating to Formula Vee. The Pukekohe circuit is also where Heimgartner, along with most of the today's Kiwi Supercars drivers, grew up watching Greg Murphy race.

"I'm extremely proud of what the team has produced, this has to be the best-looking race car I've had. The black and white theme on the car looks incredible and it's great to give back to the New Zealand fans with a livery that's dedicated to them. I'm really thankful for the support Kelly Racing has given me and the effort they have put in to do something special for my home round," he said.

Heimgartner will be looking to build on his success at Pukekohe from last year where he qualified, along with the rest of the Kiwi driver, for the top 10 shoot-out and finished eighth in Sunday's race.