While the 2022 Great Race may be forgotten for Andre Heimgartner, returning to the streets of Surfers Paradise brings back happy memories.
The Kiwi, his Brad Jones Racing team, is desperate for a clean and strong weekend on the Gold Coast after their #8 Holden ZB Commodore required a major rebuild following a significant crash at The Chase.
This reduced their Great Race campaign to just five laps and forced BJR to work around the clock to get the car ready for the 12th round of the championship.
The pair hope that a return to the stage where they took an unlikely podium in the rain in 2017 can bring success back on their side.
Heimgartner wasn’t even supposed to race that weekend and believed his racing days were numbered after failing to secure a place in his first full-time Supercar foray with Super Black Racing and Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.
But Tim Slade needed a partner after co-driver Ash Walsh had to withdraw through injury and Heimgartner got the call-up.
A strong Kiwi first effort put BJR in the box for the win, only for a pit issue to slow their push, but that didn’t stop the pair from grabbing the surfboard on the podium.
Notably, Heimgartner will be racing an identical BJR chassis numbered 007 and nicknamed “Jinx” after the character from Die Another Day.
The machine is ready to fight again and Heimgartner is determined to use happy memories and recent pain to regain form at Surfers.
“This is a track where we’ve had a history of getting on the podium before with this team,” he said.
“We completely rebuilt the car after the wreck in Bathurst.
“When you can’t drive or do anything, you come home and sit on the couch and use that as motivation.
“So the team and I are very motivated to succeed, we have done so much preparation and the boys deserve good results.”
Outside of Saturday’s special at BJR, Heimgartner has struggled to be a consistent force at Surfers Paradise with just one top-15 finish.
In 2019, he was on course for a strong P8 result in the Kelly Racing Nissan Altima, only to be spun hard into the fence by James Courtney.
But memories of 2017 will remain strong for the #8 car, which was the undisputed leader of the four-car team in 2022.
Heimgartner hopes history can repeat itself when he returns to the same team and chassis that gave him his first and most unlikely Supercar podium at the 2022 Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 starting on Friday.
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