Friday, Dec 1 10:35am
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Nissan confirm André Heimgartner to replace Todd Kelly in 2018

The 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is set to feature at least four full time Kiwi drivers with André Heimgartner the latest recruit for next season.


After standout performances in the PIRTEK Enduro Cup with Brad Jones Racing driving alongside Tim Slade and Todd Kelly's impending retirement, Heimgartner was tipped as an early favourite for the seat. Fellow Enduro Cup competitor Jack le Broqc was another hot favourite for the seat having already driven with Nissan and succeeded in Dunlop Super2.


The drive in this year's Enduro Cup only came after Ash Walsh was injured during a private test day at Phillip Island near Melbourne.


The news comes after what has been a year of ups and downs. Having initially given up on his Supercars ambition Heimgartner opted to spend a year in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia with the goal of getting into more sports car racing. 


However, the culmination of a Supercars drive and a pair of performances that nearly netted him a win on the streets of the Gold Coast means he's now back driving full time in 2018.


"I’m delighted to reveal that I’ll be joining Nissan Motorsport next year,” Heimgartner siad.


“The team and the facility are both world class. Rick and Michael both have heaps of experience in Supercars, plus Simona has raced Indycar and Formula E, so I hope to learn a lot.”


Heimgartner's fleeting Supercars career began with Super Black Racing in 2015, supported by Prodrive Racing Australia. A move to Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport was a step in the wrong direction for the Kiwi, but now he'll join a fully factory backed contingent in Nissan Motorsport.


“Nissan is a major global brand racing across the world. So it’s exciting to be aligned with them into the future. It’s a shame there’s still a few months until we’re racing again.


"I want to jump in the car and get going.”