Champions’ verdict on new era of racing

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 26/06/2020
  • By Connor O'Brien

James Courtney believes reduced crew sizes could level the playing field at Sydney Motorsport Park as the sport adjusts to the post-COVID era of racing.


Just 13 team members will be allowed onsite per two-car squad, including drivers, as part of health protocols enforced by Supercars.

While that may not be a distinct change for some teams, it will be a seismic shift for bigger operations like Shell V-Power Racing, Red Bull Holden and Tickford Racing.

“It’s going to be pretty interesting to see,” Courtney said ahead of his Tickford debut this weekend, in what will be his 200th Supercars round start.

“Some teams may struggle with less people and those smaller teams that probably function on fewer numbers won’t really see a difference, so they might be able to catch a few people out.

“There’s bigger teams, like the one I’m in, they probably are taking half the amount of people that they normally do so everyone is having to do a lot more jobs than what they normally would.

“So there’s going to be mistakes made, pitstops now are only two [rattle] guns each car whereas we had four guns each car last time, so pitstops are going to be a lot more of a challenge.”

An additional challenge for Courtney will be to get up to speed swiftly in a car he’ll only drive for the first time in opening practice tomorrow at 11am AEST.

“It’s going to be like 300 times more difficult this weekend,” Courtney said with reference to the differences he’ll experience behind the wheel.

“It’s going to be a lot to take on in those first couple of sessions.

“We won’t have a lot of time to change big things with the pedal box or anything like that between the sessions so we’re going to have to work pretty hard this afternoon to make sure that we get it right so that we can really attack when we get on-track tomorrow.

“For us it’s about doing as many laps as we can and getting comfortable within the team and with the car.

“The Tickford boys have been doing a really good job this year and over the last couple of years with good car speed, so the car speed is going to be there, it’s just going to be me getting my head around everything and learning everyone.”

Earlier at the same media conference, two-time defending champion Scott McLaughlin hosed down any suggestion that there’ll be less weight given to the 2020 title despite the disruptions it’s faced.

“I think every time you hit the track you want to be the best and the best possible position within yourself,” said McLaughlin.

“You want to give 100 percent because you know everyone back at the shop and here are working just as hard for a win regardless of what it’s like.

“For me, every time I race a car for championship points, there’s never an asterisk to it, it’s a proper go and this year will be no different.”

Related Content
Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter