16-year-old TKR driver passes second exam
Team Kiwi Racing and their 16-year-old Kiwi driver Andre` Heimgartner have received further accolades for the second race meeting in a row while competing in the City Index Carrera Cup Australia, by setting the fastest lap time in the weekends third and final race around the Albert Park Formula One circuit.
Heimgartner finished sixth in the final of three races this weekend with a best lap time of 1min59.3338sec. The St Kentigern school student placed ninth and seventh in the earlier two races.
Of the biggest hurdle facing the series rookie was the number of world-class drivers who qualified ahead of him that he needed to pass in the racing and did, including former Formula One driver Heinz Harold Frentzen and V8Supercar legend Mark Skaife.
“We’re all pretty pleased at how things have finished up,” said Heimgartner. “The more time I spend in the all black TKR Porsche the more comfortable I feel and harder I can push. Setting that fastest lap time proves that and also that the results from Adelaide’s Clipsal 500 opener wasn’t a fluke.
“I have made a few changes to the way I drive the TKR car after working through the data with team engineers Todd Bickerton and Ian McNabb. That has made a significant difference to what I need to focus on as we keep fine tuning the package and myself.
Equally, TKR team boss David John said the punt he took at putting a 16-year-old in the Porsche 911 Type 997 is looking to be the correct one.
“I am very impressed with Andre`, his maturity and how he has driven and conducted himself on and off the track for the first two rounds of the championship. Getting three consistent results this weekend ahead of drivers with many years more experience at a much higher level has reinforced he was the right driver to be provided the opportunity by TKR,” said John.
“It would be fair to say I got more than a few sideways looks when I said we are going to give a 16-year-old the opportunity to race the new TKR Porsche and run him for the season in Australia. It is a series with some of the best drivers in the world, including team driver mentor Craig Baird. But Andre has proven he deserves the opportunity and if he keeps improving as he has in only two rounds of the Championship then this year is going to be a very exciting and rewarding one for all involved.
“We’re quite proud to be an all Kiwi team impressing pit lane with this 16-year-old – this is exactly what Team Kiwi has been about these past ten years.”
Heimgartner’s results have elevated Team Kiwi Racing to fourth in the outright driver standings after two of eight rounds.
Team Kiwi Racing (TKR) now returns to New Zealand with their Porsche race car, so local public have a chance to meet Heimgartner and the all black machine in real life. TKR will contest the series third round in Western Australia in seven weeks time (4-6 May).
Details of tour dates and venues will be listed on the TKR website shortly at www.teamkiwiracing.co.nz