Kiwi Supercars driver Andre Heimgartner is looking forward to belting up for round two of the 2021 championship at Sandown Raceway this weekend.
Heimgartner broke a thumb in the New Zealand Grand Prix and Bathurst was a tricky track to test it in race mode for the first time during the opening round of Supercars three weeks ago.
"The thumb was surprisingly good after Bathurst, it held up quite well," said Heimgartner.
"It was a bit unreal having the first race of the season at Bathurst. It didn't really have the same vibe as the 1000, as it was a sprint round, which dictated how you attacked the weekend.
"You had to be a bit more urgent. We should have been a lot better anyway. There were a couple of silly mistakes that cost a good result, but overall, it could have been worse.
"Both cars are inside the top 10 after the first round, so that's a good start."
Heimgartner's team underwent a big upheaval during the off-season. Rick Kelly departed and left a big experience hole, the team has a new investor and management structure, with Steven and Brenton Grove buying into the outfit and renaming it Kelly Grove Racing, and David Reynolds replaced Kelly, bringing the Penrite sponsorship with him. There have been some engineering movements as well.
"Everyone is getting on really well and we're gelling just great. It's a new team for David [Reynolds], but I've been here for a while, so I'm comfortable. He and his engineer bring a lot to the team as a package and it's been good to see them come to the team with all their experience.
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"It's been a bit sad for me in a way with Rick not being around. I spent three years working really closely with him, so I'll miss that. He's taking a bit of a sabbatical away from racing to renew his love for the sport."
The 25-year-old is at a track this weekend that bears no resemblance to Bathurst.
"You couldn't get any more different as far as the track goes. It's going to be interesting to see how the people who went well at Bathurst, if they're just as strong at Sandown.
"I like Sandown and have always gone well here, so I'm enthusiastic about racing here. It's a track you either like or hate. I like it, so we should be okay."