Courtney focusing on consistency, not Clipsal

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 23/02/2017
  • By Lewis Isaacs

Developing a package that is fast across a variety of circuits has been the focus for Mobil 1 HSV Racing ahead of the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, says star driver James Courtney.

Courtney has won a race in each of his last three visits to Adelaide, winning the Sunday race in 2014 and 2015 before holding off Jamie Whincup in a sensation Saturday sprint last year.

The team has failed to live up to its flying start on each occasion, however, genuinely performing strongly on street circuits while enduring patchy form at other venues.

“Adelaide has been great to me in the past and had a lot of success there,” Courtney told Supercars.com.

“It’s nice to get a good result at Clipsal, but for us it’s about the big picture and being able to tie a whole year together.

“We’ve not been consistent throughout the years so that’s what we’re focussing on for this year.”

Courtney, who enters his seventh year with Walkinshaw, says form going into the season remains up in the air after the tyre test at Sydney Motorsport Park due to teams all running individual programs on the day.

James Courtney of the Holden Racing Team during the Clipsal 500, Event 01 of the 2015 Australian V8 Supercars Championship Series at the Adelaide Street Circuit, Adelaide, South Australia, March 01, 2015.

“There’s still a lot of unknowns going into Clipsal; how the cars are going to react,” he added.

“Sydney is quite flat, whereas at Clipsal you’re using so much kerb so it’ll be interesting to see how the tyre reacts.

“It’s still up in the air. From the timesheets (in Sydney) I don’t think you could lock out the grid positions for Clipsal."

While the majority of the field sampled Dunlop’s new tyres for 2017 including its super soft compound, Courtney says Sydney Motorsport Park's characteristics may mask true performance measures until all cars are on track at Adelaide.

“It would have been nicer to have a lot more sets to keep throwing them at the car,” he said.

“The worst thing is, any other track bar Sydney it probably wouldn’t have been so bad.

“(At SMP) the tyre degradation is so high. It sort of kills you a little bit, and makes it harder to get than understanding.

“Tuesday was more about our testing plan to get an understanding of the new tyre.

“We probably weren’t making changes to make it ultimately quicker, but there was a lot of sweeps of different things to get a better understanding of the tyres so when we get to Clipsal we have more of an understanding.

“On the other hand I just want to go fast, so it’s frustrating for me, but the bigger picture is it’s the right thing for us to do.”

On track

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