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Special Jinx returns for Heimgartner

AN unscheduled chassis change has reunited Andre Heimgartner with the Supercar that turned his career around.

After difficult single seasons at Super Black Racing and Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, Heimgartner was at a crossroads by age 22, unable to even secure a co-drive for the 2017 Pirtek Enduro Cup.

That is, until Ash Walsh was injured in the lead-up to Bathurst, paving the way for Heimgartner to be parachuted in as Tim Slade’s co-driver at Brad Jones Racing.

What followed was a stunning drive to third in a wet opening race at the Gold Coast – a performance that convinced Kelly Racing to offer Heimgartner a full-time seat for 2018.

After four years at Braeside, he is in the midst of a career-best campaign having returned to BJR in the most recent off-season.

However, all of his 2022 results thus far have come aboard BJR 012, which was essentially written off following a frightening startline crash at The Bend three weeks ago.

That’s forced the team to roll out its spare, BJR 007, which just so happens to be the car Heimgartner shared with Slade on that fateful Saturday.

“The “new” #8 car the team have spent so many hours building back up for me for Sandown is a special one. BJR007 – or “Jinx” as the boys have dubbed her – is the car I drove to third place alongside Tim Slade at the 2017 Gold Coast 600,” the Kiwi wrote in his event preview.

“At the time I had been racing Carrera Cup and BJR offered me a drive at both Bathurst and the Gold Coast after Ash Walsh was unfortunately injured in an accident in testing.

“For me, it was a turning point in my career and really forged a bond with the whole BJR team that I feel has paved the way for my return this season.”

Heimgartner on the 2017 GC600 podium. Pic: Dirk Klynsmith

Heimgartner said his recent Tailem Bend curveball has only heightened his motivation.

“This team is made up of people who go the extra mile,” he added.

“In the time since The Bend I’ve had a chance to read some of the well wishes online and one thing has struck me – how much this team is loved right across the spectrum of fans and followers of this sport.

“If anything, the experience of the past few weeks has made me all the more determined to bring them success.

“We go to Sandown with a new resolve. 007 is back. The team have resurrected #8 and through the experience we’ve all grown stronger and ready to tackle whatever the rest of the season brings our way.

“Our plan is simple this weekend – get back out there, get amongst it and like Bond – shake things up a little.”

Practice 1 at the Sandown SuperSprint starts at 1:10pm today before another half-hour session runs from 3:20pm for co-drivers only.

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