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Heimgartner sets sights on 2024 championship push

ANDRE Heimgartner believes he and Brad Jones Racing can become genuine championship contenders in 2024.

The new Gen3 ruleset has largely levelled the field, with seven different teams tasting victory this year and Erebus Motorsport charging from the Gen2 midfield to be on track for a title double.

Heimgartner himself has enjoyed the most successful season of his career with six podiums thus far.

He had been in the hunt to become the first BJR driver to finish top five in the championship before hitting a snag in the form of a Bathurst 1000 DNF. The 28-year-old is instead now locked in a battle for sixth with Cam Waters, with one point separating them pre-Adelaide.

But Heimgartner is not content with the theme of merely punching above his weight in the upper midfield.

“I think our car and our team, we should really have been in the top five. There has been quite a few unfortunate things and inconsistencies which we need to tidy up,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“I think going into next year, if we can tidy up a few things we can really be in the battle.

“We had six or seven races where I started on the front row four or five times, so the consistency is there, we just sometimes have shot ourselves in the foot throughout the year which really hurts the championship and you can’t afford to do.

“But in saying that, we’ve learnt a lot in doing that and exploring set-ups and doing stuff, so I think we have a much better understanding now of where we need to be.

“I’m looking forward to finishing this year off and then going into next year with a clean slate and try to maximise.”

Andre Heimgartner. Pic: Supplied/Pace Images

BJR starred in the first season of Car of the Future regulations in 2013 before gradually slipping back into the mid-pack; Heimgartner does not envisage that being the case in Gen3.

“We have got a great engineering structure and we’re building some really good things behind the scenes to aid our consistency and move forward,” he said.

“I think it’s just the start and if we can optimise what we’ve got, we’ve got really good pace – every time we roll out for a long race I’m always in the top three or four in race pace.

“We know why that is and we have understanding behind that; we just need to get the qualifying up there and then we’ll have the whole package. Things will line up.

“I’ve done it for a long time now so I’m just trying to keep nice and cool and think logically and it will come together.”

What’s more is Heimgartner is in it for the long haul at BJR.

It was believed he initially joined the Albury squad on a three-year deal expiring at the end of 2024. The Kiwi indicated there has been some sort of low-key extension agreed upon at some point.

“I won’t be going anywhere for the next three years,” he revealed.

“I really enjoy it… they’re just racers that want to go racing and to be a part of that has got back the fun of racing for me.”

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