New Kiwi V8 Supercars team Super Black Racing will rely on two home-grown young guns for its race debut at Bathurst with Andre Heimgartner and Ant Pedersen selected to race in the Mount Panorama 1000-kilometre classic.
Heimgartner and Pedersen currently race in the second-tier Development Series and New Zealand’s V8 SuperTourers category with Heimgartner to make his V8 Supercars debut at Bathurst, while Pedersen will make just his second career start in the series.
Auckland-born Heimgartner is just 19 years old and is proud to be part of the new Kiwi-backed team.
“It is a big opportunity and to be in a New Zealand team is great as there will be a lot of support around us,” Heimgartner said.
“Ant and I are new to the whole Bathurst thing so we go in with an open mind but everything is in place for us to do well so I can’t wait.
“It is pretty special to be chosen to drive for a New Zealand team and to make my debut in their debut race is unique. Shane (van Gisbergen) did the same sort of thing and look where he has ended up so hopefully I can follow in his footsteps.”
Pedersen hails from Rotorua and was last year’s runner-up in New Zealand’s domestic series with four wins.
The 26-year-old has been waiting a long time for the opportunity to race in V8 Supercars top tier in competitive machinery and is eager to impress.
“Firstly I am hugely excited and grateful for the opportunity and I can’t wait to get in the car for what is going to be a pretty special debut for Super Black,” Pedersen said.
“With a Kiwi team, Andre and I being Kiwis, it is all just really exciting. We certainly don’t underestimate the challenge. It will be really tough and we have to keep things in check in terms of our abilities and the expectations.
“Having FPR behind the project gives us confidence the team will be well-prepared and well-resourced. That ensures we have all the tools to have a successful debut. Success for us won’t be winning the race but we have the confidence and security knowing the right people and ingredients for a good race are there.”
Super Black owner Tony Lentino was pleased to sign two rising stars of New Zealand motorsport and stay true to his desire to nurture new talent through the team.
“In Andre and Ant we have two of the best young talents in New Zealand motorsport so we couldn’t be happier to give them their opportunity to show what they’ve got at the greatest race in our region,” Mr Lentino said.
“They are young but have a lot of experience in different categories so it will make their transition easier, as will having the support of FPR and its extensive resources.
“We know it is tough to make our debut at Bathurst but we see this as the first building block for our team’s future. Andre and Ant have our full support and we look forward to the build-up to our first race.”
The team’s #111 Super Black FPR Ford will make its track debut in a single-day test in the weeks leading into the Bathurst 1000.