Heimgartner to leave Kelly Grove Racing Supercars team after 2021

Australian Supercars race winner Andre Heimgartner will not sign a new contract with Kelly Grove Racing and will split with the team at the end of the current season.

Heimgartner to leave Kelly Grove Racing Supercars team after 2021

Heimgartner joined KGR as a replacement for the retiring Todd Kelly ahead of the 2018 season, back when the squad was in the final year of its Nissan Motorsport deal.

He then continued into the 'privateer' era of Kelly Racing, holding onto his seat when the squad downsized and moved to Ford hardware for the 2020 season.

Heimgartner went on to take his first Supercars win with the team, now known as Kelly Grove Racing, in wet conditions at The Bend earlier this year.

A new KGR deal for the out-of-contract Kiwi has long been considered a formality, given both his own impressive 2021 form and the investment in the team from the Grove family.

However KGR has today announced that Heimgartner won't continue with the team beyond the end of the current campaign.

"This hasn't been an easy decision for either party but it became apparent over our discussions that it would be best for Andre and his career to start a new chapter and challenge," said KGR boss Stephen Grove.

“When the time comes, he will leave us with my blessing and huge goodwill from every single member of the team.

“We're proud of everything Andre has achieved with Kelly Grove Racing, but for now, we continue to focus on the rest of the 2021 championship and finishing as strong as possible.”

This surprise split shakes up the driver market, with Heimgartner likely to be on the move to either Brad Jones Racing or Tickford Racing.

Andre Heimgartner, Kelly Grove Racing Ford

Andre Heimgartner, Kelly Grove Racing Ford

Photo by: Edge Photographics

Both of those teams are yet to settle on their driver line-ups for 2022. Jack Le Brocq's Tickford seat is thought to be at-risk, while BJR is yet to put pen to paper with Todd Hazelwood or Macauley Jones.

KGR, meanwhile, will need a new driver to partner David Reynolds for 2022.

Carrera Cup driver Matthew Payne is in contention for the seat after signing a junior team deal with KGR to race in the second-tier Super2 championship for the rest of 2021 in the newly-established Grove Junior Team.

The 19-year-old won the Toyota Racing Series title in New Zealand earlier this year before moving to Australia to race in Carrera Cup, where he took his first race win in Townsville back in July.

He will continue in Carrera Cup alongside his Super2 programme.

“We've spent a long time analysing Matt, and after seeing his performances in Townsville, it all but confirmed he was the one to launch the Grove Junior Team with," said Grove.

“We're investing in his development and talent for the future. We have a lot of faith in him and we're excited about watching his progression.

“Matt is just the first signing for the Grove Junior Team, as we look to add a few more drivers from varying levels to the programme before the end of the year.”

Payne would need a Superlicence exemption from Motorsport Australia if he were to make the step up to Supercars next season.

shares
comments

Related video

Walkinshaw Andretti puts Mostert’s Holden up for sale

Previous article

Walkinshaw Andretti puts Mostert’s Holden up for sale

Next article

Bathurst 1000 and Bathurst International set for joint event

Bathurst 1000 and Bathurst International set for joint event
Load comments
How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star Plus

How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star

His decision to leave Brad Jones Racing was the biggest shock of the Australian Supercars silly season so far. But for Nick Percat, it comes as the culmination of a personal journey that has made him into one of the most rounded drivers in the series, now in search of a seat that can make him a champion

Supercars
Sep 16, 2021
Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8 Plus

Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8

On the face of it, picking an 18-year-old rookie to replace arguably the greatest Supercars driver of all time is a risky move. But as Jamie Whincup takes up a team principal role and hands his car to Broc Feeney, it's one that he is confident will be rewarded in the fullness of time - time which wasn't afforded to Whincup in his early days

Supercars
Aug 31, 2021
How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention Plus

How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention

After his fledgling career was paused by a battle with testicular cancer, Thomas Randle then had to wrestle with finding a drive in Supercars after he got the all-clear. It's been a long road for the Melbourne native but, after two lengthy battles, he's finally got a full-time drive to look forward to

Supercars
Jun 25, 2021
How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle Plus

How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle

With Supercars’ Gen3 era on the horizon, a shift is set to take place – in more ways than one – but, as has become clear in recent weeks, the plan to bin the stick and use paddles with electronic assisted shift has been met with fierce opposition

Supercars
May 23, 2021
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Plus

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

OPINION: Roger Penske's operation helped lift Dick Johnson's faltering Ford team back to the top of Australian tin-tops. But, despite The Captain's departure, along with star driver Scott McLaughlin, there's no reason to expect an imminent decline from DJR

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Why Whincup's next move is no calculated gamble Plus

Why Whincup's next move is no calculated gamble

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But the team's outgoing boss Roland Dane has full faith that he'll be up to the task

Supercars
Feb 5, 2021
The top 10 Supercars drivers of 2020 Plus

The top 10 Supercars drivers of 2020

In a year of few constants, the Australian Supercars championship could be relied upon for its usual blend of rough and tumble racing with a V8 soundtrack. But who were its top performers in 2020?

Supercars
Dec 27, 2020
The 'lifetime deal' that broke down in double quick time Plus

The 'lifetime deal' that broke down in double quick time

Last year, David Reynolds signed a decade-long deal with Erebus, seemingly pledging his long-term Supercars future to the team. One year on, "Decade Dave's" contract has been reduced to tatters, with an undercurrent of discontent having brewed in 2020

Supercars
Dec 18, 2020