Andre Haimgartner has been given an eleventh-hour lifeline to remain in the V8 Supercars Championship after claiming the last remaining full-time drive that was up for grabs.
The 20-year-old New Zealander was left out in the cold after being dropped by Super Black Racing towards the end of his 2015 campaign, but has subsequently been signed to race the #3 Holden Commodore of the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport team left vacant by the Brad Jones Racing-bound Tim Blanchard.
“V8 Supercars has always remained the goal for me, so to join Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport and be on the 2016 Supercar grid is a great feeling,” Heimgartner said of his new drive.
“I’m looking forward to showing what I am capable of and working hard toward success with the LDM team. I’m confident we can punch above our weight throughout the season.”
“Andre is a talented, professional operator and I know he will fit in well here with us at LDM. We’ve worked very hard in the off-season to put together a strong team and I can’t wait until the season begins,” added team owner Lucas Dumbrell.
Heimgartner’s appointment all but confirms the final make-up of the 216 V8 Supercars Championship grid, although Prodrive Racing is yet to officially confirm that Dunlop Series champion Cam Waters will pilot its #6 Ford Falcon FG X alongside defending series champion Mark Winterbottom.
Prodrive did confirm, however, that it had moved Chaz Mostert to its satellite Rod Nash Racing operation for “commercial reasons” – the move was ostensibly viewed by many as a way of ensuring that Mostert and Winterbottom would not have to risk sharing the same pit bay for longer-format races where double-stacking can be a major risk.
|2016 V8 Supercars Championship – Provisional Driver Line-ups|
|#||Team / Entry||Driver||Notes|
|2.||Red Bull Racing Australia||Garth Tander|
|3.||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||Andre Heimgartner||Moving from Super Black Racing|
|4.||Erebus Motorsport V8||Aaren Russell||Promoted from Dunlop Series|
|5.||Prodrive Racing Australia||Mark Winterbottom|
|6.||Prodrive Racing Australia||Cam Waters*||Promoted from Dunlop Series|
|7.||Nissan Motorsport||Todd Kelly|
|8.||Brad Jones Racing||Jason Bright|
|9.||Erebus Motorsport V8||David Reynolds||Moving from Rod Nash Racing|
|12.||DJR Team Penske||Fabian Coulthard||Moving from Brad Jones Racing|
|14.||Brad Jones Racing||Tim Slade||Moving from Walkinshaw Racing|
|15.||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly|
|17.||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye|
|18.||Charlie Schwerkolt Racing||Lee Holdsworth|
|19.||TEKNO Autosports||Will Davison||Moving from Erebus Motorsport|
|21.||Brad Jones Racing||Tim Blanchard||Moving from LD Motorsport|
|22.||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney|
|23.||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso|
|33.||Volvo Polestar Racing||Scott McLaughlin|
|34.||Volvo Polestar Racing||James Moffat||Moving from Nissan Motorsport|
|55.||Rod Nash Racing||Chaz Mostert||Moving from Prodrive Racing|
|88.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Jamie Whincup|
|97.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Shane van Gisbergen||Moving from TEKNO Autosports|
|99.||Nissan Motorsport||Dale Wood||Moving from Brad Jones Racing|
|111.||Super Black Racing||Chris Pither||Promoted from Dunlop Series|
|222.||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||Nick Percat|
|888.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Craig Lowndes|
* Deal yet to be officially announced
Image via V8 Supercars Championship