Kiwi Supercars racer Andre Heimgartner has an enviable CV.
Having started racing in karts, he then moved to Formula First back in 2008, and is now in his fourth season in Supercars – and is still only 24 years old.
Along the way he's raced Formula Fords, Porsches, V8 SuperTourers, GTs and TCR. He had a rocky start to his Supercars career starting in the Dunlop development series (now Super2), moving up to the now defunct Super Black Racing, and then was called to race at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport. This was followed by a year in the wilderness, before being picked up by Kelly Racing where he began to shine.
After punting around in an aging Nissan, Heimgartner got his hands on a brand new Mustang this year. At the opening round of the 2020 Supercars Championship on the streets of Adelaide, he grabbed solid 11th and 10th place finishes. Things were looking up, until along came Covid-19.
As round after round was either postponed or cancelled, Heimgartner turned his hand to simulator racing, something he hadn't really thought much about up until two months ago.
"We're pretty lucky we've got the sim racing I suppose as it would be pretty boring," said Heimgartner. "I haven't spent much time on them [simulators] in the past. I've had one for a few years but haven't really used it.
"I had to get a whole lot of new stuff, to get my rig up to scratch.
"It's a bit of good fun but not really like the real thing. If you had the number of crashes on a real track you'd be in a lot of pain, if not something worse."
Sim racing bears very little resemblance to actually racing in a Supercar. However, it does keep Heimgartner and his fellow racers occupied and he reckons it's a bit of fun as well.
The Australian-based Kiwi has dived in deep end and as well as the official Supercars All Stars E Series, has tried his hand at Formula One, GT3 and Formula Three events.
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"The first few rounds [Supercars] I managed to stay out of trouble and get some good results. The last two rounds haven't been too good and I've been caught up in some accidents.
"There's a bit of carnage going on in some races and there's no secret to staying out of it unfortunately.
"I've raced in a fair few different categories, which is entertaining. The Formula One race was pretty good fun but it was on the F1 platform [other series are on the iRacing platform], which is a bit too gamey for me and I only had a few days to practice.
"The sim cars are quite different to race in each category, but because you're not actually having to get into the physical car it's a lot easier to find where the limits are and push them," he said.
Earlier in the week it was announce the Supercars championship is slated to fire up again at the Sydney Motorsport Park event in late June , and Heimgartner is excited to get back behind the wheel of a real car for the remaining 11 rounds.
"I can't wait until we get started again at Sydney. Everyone will have forgotten how to drive and will be straight on it. There could be a bit of carnage as we don't get any extra practice. It'll be interesting to see what happens.
"Seriously though, I think it will be okay and it's great to be able to race a nearly full season. It'll mean a lot for the teams, fans and sponsors to be able to get back on track on put on a good show."