Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : Dec 2015 Jan 2016 Issue 90 Contents 62
fortable to be in, not easier to drive, but I
feel more confident to drive fast in an FG
X. So I think doing this weekend has upped
my driving ability a bit more.”
Gracie was also pitted against boyfriend
and Super Black Racing young gun Andre
Heimgartner in the race, the first time a
couple have shared the grid since Leanne
Tander [Paul Cruickshank Racing] and
Garth Tander [Holden Racing Team] con-
tested the 2009 Bathurst 1000. But the
young couple is not big on sharing racing
tips away from the track.
“We don’t really talk about racing, to be
honest,” says Gracie.
“We have a lot of other interests in
common and that [racing] is one that
doesn’t really surface that often. But when
he [Heimgartner] changed from the old car
to the FG X halfway through the year, we
talked about how much he liked it and the
confidence it gave him.”
The other factor that helped Gracie
raise the bar was being paired alongside
the highly-rated de Silvestro, who despite
having never raced a V8 Supercar, pro-
duced the goods behind the wheel.
“Yeah, she’s been great, she’s been really
good,” says Gracie.
“Obviously that last stint for her was a
bit tough, it was a bit more than a double
stint. We thought we might be pushing
her a little bit but because we were
running so close to the cut off time we
didn’t want to make a driver change, make
a mistake and ruin it all.
“She did a really good job and we prob-
ably pushed her to her limits. She was
exceptionally good given the circum-
stances of what happened, a true profes-
sional and I’m glad she’s back next year.”
Edwards was equally impressed with de
Silvestro’s ability to get up to speed quickly,
so much so that the Swiss driver qualified
the car. And in the race she didn’t put a
foot wrong in a long double stint.
“It’s not just the challenge of driving
these cars for Simona, it’s the challenge of
driving this track,” he says.
“You see drivers that have been driving
here for a long time and it bites them. It’s
a track that rewards experience and confi-
dence because you are positioning the car
before you even go over the brow of a hill
for a corner that you can’t even see.
“So you know it takes a lot of laps
around this place to attack it with that
level of confidence.”
Super Black Racing’s Andre Heimgartner had
a solid rookie year behind the wheel and has
received increased interest off the track, thanks
to his relationship with fellow V8 Supercar racer
“I’m all for it [the extra attention] because it
gets me more exposure; it doesn’t bother me too
much,” says Heimgartner.
“It’s also good for Renee; she deserves the
exposure she is getting now. I think it’s an all-
round good thing.”
The 20-year-old says they didn’t see each other
too much over the Bathurst weekend due to their
respective team commitments.
“Yeah, not very often actually,” he says.
“I think I saw her three or four times through-
out the week. She stayed with her team, I stayed
with my team, so we could be a bit more involved
with our teams.
“But it’s alright; when we are at the track we
are here to race, we are not here to be all lovey-
dovey. We both understand that is how it is.”
The Kiwi says they do help each other with the
racing side of things where they can, though.
“I’ve done a bit of driver training with her and
given her a few tips,” he says.
“But she knows what she is doing; she’s got
a crew behind her with Paul Morris and Chris
Jewell; very experienced people. I’m just there to
help out with a few little things.
“Surprisingly, we don’t talk that much about
it [racing], it’s good like that. But we do have
times when we do. We train together, we do lots
of things together to do with motorsport but it’s
good that our relationship is not based solely on
And he says they shouldn’t worry too much
about any pressure or extra attention they
received to succeed at their first attempt on the
“They’ve just got to learn this year,” he says.
“They need to come back next year with the
experience they had this year and take a step for-
ward again... I just tell her [Gracie] to embrace
it [the pressure]. It’s no different to what I did
last year. Obviously there is more attention for
them which is good and that’s good for the sport.
But as far as the job she has got to do, it’s the
same as anyone else; it doesn’t change.”
NEW TRACK YOU JUST LEARN THE TRACK
AND ICE- ER A UTHEREIT A ALL
NEW FOR ME.” – SIMONA DE SILVESTRO
V8X90 p60-64 Wildcards.indd 62
13/11/2015 11:19 am
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