The Gold Coast 600 takes place this weekend as the Australian Supercars winds down its season. Fabian Coulthard currently leads the overall title race after a solid Bathurst round a fortnight ago. His DJR Team Penske team mate Scott McLaughlin was the quickest over the Bathurst weekend, with double points at stake it was an important round to finish and his race retirement has dropped him back to third overall behind Jamie Whincup. Fellow Kiwi driver Shane van Gisbergen sits fifth and has all but given up hopes of retaining his 2016 driver’s title.
It’s the 16th time the championship has competed on the Gold Coast since the first points-paying event was held there in 2002. Kiwi drivers have won 15/20 races so far this season but McLaughlin and Coulthard’s DJR Team Penske has never won a Supercars Championship race on the Gold Coast.
Also in the mix is Richie Stanaway who is co-driving for Cameron Waters. After their win at the opening endurance round at Sandown, the pair had a disappointing Bathurst 1000 finishing 16th overall. Contrary to their Bathurst, Kiwi Chris Pither finished fourth at Mount Panarama co-driving with Dale Wood in the Erebus Racing Holden.
‘Super-sub’ Andre Heimgartner will step in to replace the injured Ash Walsh in this weekend’s Supercars event. It will again be a double header for Heimgartner who will also contest the final round of the 2017 Carrera Cup Australia Championship. A fortnight ago he took out the Carrera Cup round win at Mount Panorama as well as filling in for Walsh who continues to recover from injuries sustained in late September during a Phillip Island prototype testing crash. Co-driving with Tim Slade in the #14 Brad Jones Holden Commodore, Heimgartner brought the car home to finish a very creditable ninth overall in the Bathurst 1000.
The 22 year-old Melbourne-based Kiwi last weekend competed in the final round of the 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia championship for leading GT-outfit Craft Bamboo Racing, finishing second in the final race alongside Devon Modell. Heimgartner was subbing for World Endurance Championship driver Nick Foster who was unavailable for the event due to it being rescheduled. Heimgartner will make his racing return to a New Zealand national championship announceing this week that he will line-up in the BNT V8s at Pukekohe, November 3-5, aboard a Richards Team Motorsport Toyota Camry.