New Zealand Supercars driver Andre Heimgartner will replaced the retired Todd Kelly for Nissan Motorsport for next season.
The 22-year old will race alongside Rick Kelly, Michael Caruso and Simona De Silvestro and he’s become the fifth Kiwi in the category next year, joining Shane van Gisbergen, Scott Mclaughlin, Fabian Coulthard and Richie Stanaway.
“I’m delighted to reveal that I’ll be joining Nissan Motorsport next year,” Heimgartner said.
“The team and the facility are 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 had previously campaigned in the Supercars Championship for the now defunct New Zealand team Super Black Racing and the low budget Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport operation. However, this is the first time he will be representing a factory squad.
“Nissan is a major global brand racing across the world, so it’s exciting to be aligned with them into the future,” Heimgartner said.
“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.”
Heimgartner’s drives in the wet at this year’s Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600 are what captured the attention of Nissan Motorsport co-owner Todd Kelly.
“We’re really excited to have Andre as part of the team,” Kelly said.
“Andre is a really promising talent and has experience in the main game.
“Our line-up for next season is now pretty diverse but also extremely capable. What Andre was able to achieve in the Pirtek Enduro Cup made the entire paddock stand up and take notice.”
Todd retired from full-time driving at the end of the 2017 season and only considered reaching that decision once a capable young driver was signed.
“I am comfortable in retiring from racing knowing that we have such a promising young talent driving with us. I look forward to being able to watch him develop throughout the year.”
Nissan Motorsport will reveal their 2018 Championship contenders early in the new year. The 2018 Supercars Championship begins at the Adelaide 500, March 1.