Blanchard squad encouraged by Courtney's rapid start

17 May
James Courtney offered a bright spark to BRT on Friday, driving his Snowy River Caravans Ford to third in practice
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James Courtney's fast start to the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint has encouraged Tim Blanchard, following a tricky start to the team's life as a two-car operation.

The Blanchard Racing Team expanded to two cars in 2024 for star veteran Courtney and rising star Aaron Love, but has had little to show for its efforts through three rounds.

Courtney may have never qualified better than fifth for any Supercars race in Perth, but has a strong record in races. The 2010 champion has podiums from the last two Perth events, and has nine top fives in 40 starts.

Perth was BRT's best round of 2023, with Todd Hazelwood racing to fourth in the opener after setting the second best time in practice.

After a "shocker" in New Zealand, where the best results across both cars was Love's 15th in the wet Saturday race, Blanchard was hoping Friday was a case of what's to come in Perth, and beyond.

courtney friday perth 2024

"For JC to be up towards the pointy end today at this early stage in the weekend is encouraging for the whole team," Blanchard said.

"He obviously loves this place, he's been on the podium the last couple of years here, so I think there's hopefully a good weekend ahead.

"We have got a bit of work to do with Aaron's car to get him up to speed, I think he's having a few issues with the brakes, but after what was a weekend to forget in New Zealand it's a pretty positive start for us.

"Our car was competitive last year. There's a bit we have brought over from last year towards this year and I think James has also got a fair bit of feedback from the last two years where he has been on the podium.

"So we're using all the knowledge that we can to try to create something that's fast."

With expansion has come new personnel, led by former Tickford Racing figure and current Team Manager Kate Harrington, as well as ex-Tickford engineer Raymond Lau.

While there have been come growing pains, Blanchard likes where his team is going, with rookie Love praising BRT's positive culture in the lead-up to the event.

Highlights: Practice 1 Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint

"I think we're realistic in the expansion and the pains that come with it. We've gone from roughly five people full-time to 14 or 15 full-time, so it's a big change in the team and the dynamic in the team.

"Pretty much everyone in the team wasn't with us last year, so it's effectively a fully new team from a personnel point of view.

"I think operationally and the culture side of it since everyone has joined has been tremendous and is improving dramatically week-to-week. Then it's the hard bit, which is getting the car speed.

"We struggled with that the first three rounds and no one in the team would deny that, but the foundations have been really good away from the car speed and that's building.

"Hopefully today is the first glimmer of some of that hard work starting to translate into on-track performance as well, but there's a long way to go this weekend."

Supercars will return to the track on Saturday for the short Practice 2 at 9:15am AWST/11:15am AEST, followed by knockout Boost Mobile Qualifying at 12:00pm AWST/2:00pm AEST.

The first 55-lap race of the weekend, Race 9, will commence at 3:45pm AWST/5:45pm AEST. International viewers can follow all the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint action on Superview. Tickets for the event are on sale now.

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