Heimgartner positive heading into the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400
Andre Heimgartner is heading into round 2 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship off the back of a positive first round in Adelaide. The driver of the #7 NED Racing Mustang is looking to have a successful weekend at Albert Park and although the Supercars are a support category to the Formula One’s, this event has been a points-paying round since 2018.
“We had an encouraging first round in Adelaide given it was the first outing for the Mustang, so I’m hoping now that we’ve gotten the first one out the way, we can have a positive weekend,” admitted Heimgartner.
“Last year I had a mixed weekend at the AGP, my highest placed finish being 9th in race 5 on the Saturday so hopefully we can give it a really good crack this year.”
The racing format is action packed for the Supercars grid, with two practice sessions and two back-to-back qualifying sessions on Thursday. Friday will hold an additional two qualifying sessions again back-to-back with only a 10min break in-between, before hitting the track for the first 100km race in the afternoon. Saturday will host two races, while Sunday will see the final race commence at 1pm AEDT. The weekend will see a total of four races, each 100km (20-laps) and each worth 75-points.
The Albert Park circuit is 5.3km in length, second behind Bathurst therefore enabling drivers to be able to complete only a handful of laps in the short qualifying sessions.
“It’s going to be a busy weekend, that’s for sure,” said the 24-year old.
“Qualifying is certainly going to be tough with the back to back sessions. There’s certainly going to be a lot of pressure to get that flying lap in. It also plays a lot towards set-up changes as there isn’t a lot of time to do much.”
Pitstops this weekend are another unique format to the Melbourne 400, where each race includes a compulsory four-tyre change, but no refuelling; making this race the only in the season where pitstops are purely tyre changes.
While fuel isn’t an issue, teams will need to think about strategy as they will be required to use both a hard and soft compound Dunlop at some stage during in each race.
“There’s certainly a lot going on over the weekend in terms of format, so it’ll be interesting to see all of the different strategies. Hopefully we can put together a package that is promising and can come away with the goods,” said the Kiwi.
Practice 1 kicks off Thursday 12th March, 11:55am AEDT.