After nine years of trying to revive the Walkinshaw organisation’s glory days, James Courtney headed into 2020 carrying a new challenge.
The 2010 Supercars champion was announced as the face of the Team Sydney project, linking him back to team owner Jonathon Webb - his former Stone Brothers Racing and Dick Johnson Racing stablemate.
However, Courtney elected to depart the squad after just one event, leaving his next step uncertain... until a plum drive arose at Tickford Racing following the coronavirus-related exit of 23Red Racing.
Remarkably, he will have not missed a single race by the time the championship resumes. It will be Courtney's first Ford drive since that 2010 campaign.
Courtney’s list of achievements before joining Supercars is impressive, with two world karting championships, British and European Formula Ford titles, and a Formula 1 testing role with Jaguar.
When that chapter of his career ended, not aided by a high-speed F1 testing crash at Monza, Courtney moved to Japan to win the 2003 Japanese Formula 3 title and then shift to Super GT.
His versatility caught the attention of the then-Holden Racing Team, which signed him as an endurance driver alongside legend Jim Richards in 2005.
Stone Brothers Racing picked Courtney to replace the NASCAR-bound Marcos Ambrose for 2006, and he would finish on the Bathurst podium and secure the Mike Kable Young Gun Award with 11th in the standings.
He took his maiden victory with SBR at Queensland Raceway in 2008 and moved to Dick Johnson Racing the following season.
In a standout 2010, Courtney won the Supercars title and the Barry Sheene Medal, before rejoining HRT as a full-timer in ’11, winning on debut in Abu Dhabi.
He added a further six race wins, with sixth in 2014 his best championship result for the Clayton operation.
The Gold Coast resident’s fortunes would take a turn for the worse in 2017 – evidenced by a shocking 21st in the championship – before returning to podium contention when Walkinshaw teamed with Andretti Autosport and United Autosports.
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