Andre HeimgartnerNew Zealand’s youngest ever national motorsport champion Andre Heimgartner will make his touring car debut in the high powered world of V8 SuperTourer racing next season in a deal announced today.

Heimgartner, from East Auckland, will drive a second Holden Commodore VE II V8 SuperTourer for the multi-championship winning AV8 Motorsport team as team mate to veteran V8 racer and two time NZV8 champion Andy Booth.

In March this year Heimgartner made history when the year 11 student from St Kentigern College took out the NZ Formula Ford title at just 15 years of age, making him the youngest ever national championship winner. The step up from a 115 horsepower open wheel race car to a full blown 600hp, 7 litre V8 SuperTourer will be a big challenge for the youngster but Andre says he can’t wait to line up on the grid at the inaugural round of the V8 SuperTourer Series in February next year.

“To be honest, this is quite unreal, a dream come true much sooner than I could have imagined. To be able to advance my career like this and have the opportunity to learn from and test myself against some of the best drivers in Australasia is something I had to jump at. I’m so thankful for this chance I’ve been given by AV8 and my supporters; I hope to be able to repay their confidence with my performance on track”

When asked about the new V8 SuperTourer car Andre added:

“The car is the most exciting thing I’ve seen in NZ Motorsport, it’s going to be a big step up for me for sure but I can’t wait to drive a real racing touring car with that much power”

Another huge boost for Andre is the opportunity to work alongside and be mentored by such an experienced team mate in Andy Booth. The double NZV8 champion and former NZ Grand Prix winner is also a co-owner of the AV8 Motorsport team was instrumental in the decision to offer the young champion this opportunity.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Andre and doing what I can to help his career path in motorsport. We’ve talked for several years about wanting to run a young up and coming driver in a development role alongside me and in Andre I feel we’ve found that guy. He’s got obvious talent and is driven to succeed, hopefully I can help develop his driving and assist him with the more commercial aspects of the sport as well” Booth said.

AV8 Motorsport team principle, and co-creator of the V8 SuperTourer Series, Wayne Anderson is equally enthused about bringing Andre onboard in the second car.

“It’s great to be able to make this announcement so early. For AV8 and V8 SuperTourers to be able to offer this opportunity to Andre is a big boost for both sides, the sport gets to help one of its young stars hopefully on his way to bigger things and Andre can test himself against and learn from the most experienced touring car drivers in the country. Now he needs to make the most of that”

The new V8 SuperTourer Series will take place over 7 rounds from Feb to Oct 2012 starting at Hampton Downs on Feb 17/18/19. Featuring four door touring cars built on a control race chassis and powered by 7 litre fuel injected engines with 6 speed sequential gearboxes. Billed as the ‘V8 Series of Champions’, it will feature the strongest competitor line up seen in recent times in NZ.