Burgess: Equal status for Pye, Courtney

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 16/02/2017
  • By Lewis Isaacs

Mobil 1 HSV Racing team manager Adrian Burgess expects James Courtney to step up into a leadership role with the team this season, but insists there is no 'number one' driver at Walkinshaw Racing.

Courtney is joined by new recruit Scott Pye at the reborn team after spending the previous six seasons alongside Garth Tander.

Courtney has won seven times for the team since his switch at the end of his 2010 championship winning season at Dick Johnson Racing, but Burgess insists there is no preferential treatment for the drivers.

Instead, he expects the 36-year-old to step up and thrive in the team’s new underdog status.

“I think people will see him as the team leader and James will feel a responsibility to lead,” he told Supercars.com.

“He’s got a lot of success under his belt. But equally he’s a racer and a very competitive individual as I’m sure you’ll see on the track.

“He’s excited to get to Adelaide, some where he goes well at and he’s excited to lead this team.

"In terms of the term leader, naturally people will look to James.

Mobil 1 HSV Racing 2017 livery

Burgess insisted equal status among the team’s drivers is paramount despite Courtney’s experience advantage and longevity with the team.

“We don’t adopt and we never have adopted a number one and number two driver,” he continued.

“Both the guys will get the same treatment and same equipment and the same love and the same commitment behind them to deliver the results.

“James will be looked on as much as he always is. He’s one of those characters that draws attention which is a good thing.

“Our job now is to keep him relaxed and keep him in the right environment, which we have.

"He has the same mechanics and engineers on his car as he finished last year with so he’s settled.”

Courtney added the new driver dynamic is one the team can benefit from.

“I haven’t really mixed with Scott too much given there was an arch enemy thing with him and Triple Eight,” he told Supercars.com.

“But in the dealings I’ve had from the end of last year and start of this year he seems like a really nice bloke and very determined.

“Already, dynamically within the team it’s very different without having Garth.

"It was a shock for the organisation at first, but I think Scott has stepped in and seems very happy.

"The boys haven’t said any bad things about anything, and everyone is pretty happy with him.”

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