Courtney lines up for 300th race

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 16/05/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

The Holden Racing Team will have a "big swing" at improving the #22 Holden Commodore ahead of James Courtney's 300th V8 Supercars race this afternoon.

While Courtney entered the NP300 Navara Winton SuperSprint second in the Championship, a 14th place finish in the first race today has dropped him to third overall, and he is set to line up13th on the grid for for the upcoming race.

But the bigger problem is solving the issues with the Commodore, after a number of changes post-qualifying didn't help him crack the top 10.

"If we knew [what was wrong] we'd be further up the road!" Courtney told v8supercars.com.au.

"It's a bit confusing really, just trying to get an idea of what's going on. The balance of the car is not horrendous - it's not massive oversteer or understeer - the balance is there, just not the performance, so it's a bit strange.

"I would like to perform a little bit better than that for my 300th, so I'm going to have to put in a big performance.

"Al [McVean, race engineer] assures me he can make it better this time, so fingers crossed."

Courtney outlined yesterday how unique - and difficult - the V8 Supercars were to drive, naming the series the strongest touring car Championship in the world.

"They're very unique cars in the way they drive. They're very, very challenging - one minute they can be good and then you make a small change and it's horrendous," he said. "They're hard to work on as well, so it's a massive challenge."

Courtney was the last man to stop six-time champ Jamie Whincup from taking the V8 Supercars title, winning the Championship in 2010 with Dick Johnson Racing.

Though he has recorded 13 career wins in V8 Supercars - including one at Winton in 2013 - Courtney's career highlight in the category was more about his team's passion than a solo drive.

His Championship-clinching race was one of the most intense finales in recent history. Each car in contention for the title smashed the wall, as rain pelted down on the Sydney Olympic Park street circuit - it was down to quick hands in pit lane.

"For me, the highlight ofmy whole V8 Supercars career was not on track," Courtney said.

"I think for me, it was sitting in the garage at Homebush that Saturday afternoon, when, I think, 12 of the first 15 cars went into the wall.

"Just to see the passion and how much the boys on the car wanted it as much as I did - to see that and see the guys grabbing the red hot discs without gloves on because they didn't want to waste time putting them on, just to get it out there - for me that's definitely better than the Championship, to see that passion and that will to win. That was easily the best moment in my whole career."

Last year's Clipsal 500 win - which he backed up early this season - was another bright spot.

While Courtney was frustrated with this afternoon's performance so far, he will focus on getting the most out of the car he has for race two, and learning more ahead of tomorrow's double points race.

"We'd like to be a bit further up, but like I said all year, it's about maximising what you have when you have it.

"Unfortunately today we've only got a car for 14th, so rather than do anything silly ... we finish where we are... as a team we'll knuckle down [and] hopefully we can get it sorted."

Today's second race begins at 4.35pm local time.

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