Kiwi Supercars racer Andre Heimgartner believes he'll be fit to test his Kelly Grove Racing Mustang at Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria this week, knowing his hand is on the mend.
Heimgartner broke his finger and thumb in race two of the Toyota Racing Series at Hampton Downs when he banged wheels with Brendon Leitch, causing the steering wheel to be wrenched out of hands.
He missed the ride day at Phillip Island earlier this month but is confident he'll be good to go this time around.
"It certainly was hard work out there for the Grand Prix race. The thumb was pretty troublesome during the race, but we managed to get through it and get on the podium," said Heimgartner, who finished second behind Shane van Gisbergen.
Since the injury he's been wearing a brace and having physio in an effort to get his hand up to speed to handle the rigors of racing. It's an important test day for Heimgartner and the team, as they have a number of things to test on the car.
Heimgartner is pleased with how the injury is healing and now has a good range of movement. He will, however, be wearing a brace underneath his race glove and knows he will be driving with some pain. By keeping up the exercises, Heimgartner is confident he'll be back at, or very near, full strength in time for the opening round of the 2021 Supercars Championship at the Mount Panorama 500 from February 26-28.
Also testing on the day are Brad Jones Racing, Erebus Motorsport, Team 18, Tickford Racing, Kelly Grove Racing, Walkinshaw Andretti United, and the Blanchard Racing Team.
There is also some good news for another Kiwi driver. Chris Pither, who has had one of the more interesting journeys in Supercars, missed out on a drive this season when his 2020 outfit Team Sydney didn't renew his contract. Instead, Team Sydney opted to sign Garry Jacobson to partner Fabian Coulthard who moved from his former DJR Team Penske team.
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Pither is returning to the Brad Jones Racing stable after getting the call up to co-drive in the Enduros with Macauley Jones. Pither also brings the iconic red and white Coca Cola branding that was on his car last year with him to the team.
"It's great for myself and Coca-Cola to find a home at Brad Jones Racing," said Pither.
"I have enjoyed racing for the team in the past so it's good to be back on familiar grounds. I was aiming to drive full-time this season, but the right opportunity wasn't available.
"Regardless, I'm grateful and excited to race the Bathurst 1000 with Macauley.
"I am also looking forward to attending rounds throughout the year representing Coca-Cola and working alongside Macauley and the BJR team so that when October arrives, we'll be ready to go."
The 34-year-old Pither had a previous relationship with BJR having driven for the team for a number of years, winning in the Super2 championship and the Pirtek Endurance Cup.