Andre Heimgartner has been crowned the 2019/20 BNT V8 champion after series organisers decided to call its season prematurely.
The Covid-19 pandemic meant the final two rounds, both scheduled to be staged around Hampton Downs, were postponed. But further complications have now seen the series opt to end the season early and crown its deserving victors.
Heimgartner’s campaign can only be described as dominant. The 25-year-old led Hamilton Motorsports to its second successive title, backing on from Jack Smith’s triumph last season.
The Supercars regular powered his Holden Commodore to all eight pole positions and race wins across the season, snaring the fastest lap in all but one attempt.
The 2019/20 Championship title is also number two for Heimgartner, having won the 2017/18 Championship aboard a Richards Team Motorsport Toyota Camry.
Alexandra Whitley finished second in her rookie season piloting the Richards Team Motorsport Toyota Camry with Brad Lathrope rounding out the top three in his Dayle ITM Ford Falcon.
Heimgartner’s teammate and series veteran Lance Hughes finished a mere 36 points adrift of Lathrope in fourth, with Rob Wallace, Brayden Phillips and Nick Ross rounding out the BNT class standings.
Justin McIlroy is crowned the BNT V8 Lites Champion, ahead of Brock Timperley and Shane Whitley.
The BNT V8s Open class was clinched by Cambridge-based racer Sam Collins in his highly modified Ford Mustang, followed by Blair McDonald and Eric Hennephof.
With a prolonged off-season upon series promoters and teams, attention now turns to the introduction of the NZTA2 class which is set to adopt the NZ V8 Touring Car title from next season.
Category Manager Gary Lathrope said the NZ V8 Touring Car board and competitors are excited about the prospect of the NZTA2 class and fans can expect the first driver announcements to be revealed shortly.
“It’s a shame the season couldn’t be run until the end; however, we all live in challenging times currently, and after consultation with competitors, sponsors and Motorsport New Zealand, it was decided this was the best decision to make,” said Lathrope.
“We’ve got an incredibly exciting new platform of V8 racing to now introduce to New Zealand. These cars are massively successful in multiple markets around the world, and especially Australia.
“This will give us an amazing opportunity to offer a true Trans-Tasman and international competition for competitors which we think is exciting.
“The interest in the new cars remains incredibly high, with the first two cars now sold, and it won’t be long too before the next shipment of chassis are accounted for also.
“The BNT V8s are looking forward to announcing details of the new series for next season with some radical changes from the past, and we look forward to working with our promoters Speedworks Events with the release the new calendar dates.”