It’s still almost six months out, but another driver pairing for this year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup rounds of the V8 Supercars Championship has been finalised: Super Black Racing has confirmed it will run the same driver pairing of Andre Heimgartner and Dunlop Series driver Ant Pedersen across the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600 events.
The New Zealand youngsters were partnered at last year’s Bathurst 1000, where Super Black Racing was awarded a wildcard entry in a Ford Performance Racing-prepared entry, finishing a very impressive eleventh.
Heimgartner was kept on as the single-car team made its full-time debut in the V8 Supercars Championship, while Pederson continues to cut his teeth in the Dunlop feeder series with Eggleston Motorsport.
“After their impressive performance last year at Bathurst, there was never really any other option for us but Andre and Ant,” Super Black Racing team owner Tony Lentino said.
“They’re both great drivers and both have always been part of our team. Having Ant back this season was always a priority. That seamless integration into the team will be an important part of our overall performance at all of the enduros.”
Pederson’s appointment means just two seats are up for grabs – assuming the entry list remains capped at 25 cars – with the co-driver roles alongside Todd Kelly (Nissan Motorsport) and Tim Blanchard (Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport) the only seats remaining vacant.
|2015 V8 Supercars Championship – Pirtek Enduro Cup Driver Pairings|
|#||Team / Entry||Lead Driver||Co-Driver|
|1.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Jamie Whincup||Paul Dumbrell|
|2.||Red Bull Racing Australia||Garth Tander||Warren Luff|
|3.||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||Tim Blanchard||TBA|
|4.||Erebus Motorsport V8||Ashley Walsh||Jack Le Brocq|
|5.||Prodrive Racing Australia||Mark Winterbottom||Steve Owen|
|6.||Prodrive Racing Australia||Chaz Mostert||Cameron Waters|
|7.||Nissan Motorsport||Todd Kelly||TBA|
|8.||Brad Jones Racing||Jason Bright||Andrew Jones|
|9.||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Alex Davison|
|10.||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Dean Fiore|
|14.||Brad Jones Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Luke Youlden|
|15.||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly||David Russell|
|17.||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye||Marcos Ambrose|
|18.||Charlie Schwerkolt Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Sebastien Bourdais|
|21.||Brad Jones Racing||Dale Wood||Macauley Jones|
|22.||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Jack Perkins|
|33.||Volvo Polestar Racing||Scott McLaughlin||Alexandre Premat|
|34.||Volvo Polestar Racing||David Wall||Chris Pither|
|47.||Walkinshaw Racing||Tim Slade||Tony D’Alberto|
|55.||Rod Nash Racing||David Reynolds||Dean Canto|
|97.||TEKNO Autosports||Shane van Gisbergen||Jonathon Webb|
|99.||Nissan Motorsport||James Moffat||Tax Douglas|
|111.||Super Black Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ant Pedersen|
|222.||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||Nick Percat||Oliver Gavin|
|888.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Craig Lowndes||Steven Richards|
Another notable feature of this year’s co-driver line-ups is that several experienced potential co-drivers will not be on this year’s grid.
A number of outfits have elected to bring new faces into the cockpit. Erebus Motorsport appointed Dunlop Series driver Jack Le Brocq as Ash Walsh’s co-driver, while Charlie Schwerkolt Racing has hired IndyCar Series driver Sébastien Bourdais to partner Lee Holdsworth.
Headlining the list of those missing in action are former champions Greg Murphy and Russell Ingall – who have six Bathurst 1000 wins between them – who both elected to retire from racing and take up TV roles in V8 Supercars broadcasting.
Other regular co-drivers who look set to miss out include the likes of Craig Baird, Steven Johnson, Greg Ritter, and last year’s Bathurst 1000 winner, Paul Morris.
Image via Hartung Photography