Courtney opens up as GC600 milestone looms

James Courtney ahead of the Gold Coast 600. Picture: Getty Images
James Courtney ahead of the Gold Coast 600. Picture: Getty Images

JAMES Courtney will bring up a mega milestone when Supercars roll into his home town this weekend - and he has declared there is plenty more to come.

The Gold Coaster will start in his 400th Supercars race on Saturday in a career that spans back to 2005, when he made his debut co-driving with the legendary Jim Richards.

"It has definitely crept up on me pretty quickly. I preferred being the younger new guy but it turns out that I'm not anymore," Courtney said.

Courtney began racing karts as a seven-year-old and immediately set his sights on becoming a professional race car driver.

He reached the pinnacle of the sport in 2010 while at Dick Johnson Racing, beating Jamie Whincup to the title in thrilling circumstances.

His subsequent switch to the Holden Racing Team - now known as Walkinshaw Andretti United - has brought ups and downs but the 38-year-old says he would do it all over again.

Courtney with the No.18 Falcon that he drove to the 2010 championship. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Courtney with the No.18 Falcon that he drove to the 2010 championship. Picture: Zak Simmonds

"It hasn't been the easiest of journeys but it has been well worth it," Courtney said.

"The only thing I ever wanted to do was race a car so I feel unbelievably lucky to be able to do what I do. Every morning I wake up and pinch myself.

"I sort of put all of my eggs in the one basket and it has worked out really well. I wouldn't change one part of it."

Courtney indicated retirement is not on the horizon, meaning the 500-race milestone is well within reach.

"I would like to be on this journey for a few more years," he said.

"I'm still only 38. The other boys have got quite a few years on me so I'd like to think I have a little bit of time to go yet."

He has, however, already started making his impact felt beyond the race track with his JC Kart establishment.

Courtney (right) with team boss Ryan Walkinshaw in Bathurst. Picture: Getty Images
Courtney (right) with team boss Ryan Walkinshaw in Bathurst. Picture: Getty Images

"I am a big believer in giving back," he said.

"I help quite a few young kids out and just try to show them that it's not all about being the fastest guy - 25 per cent of what we do is the actual racing. The rest of it is all the commercial stuff, working with the media, being able to present yourself well and nicely and being able to speak on TV and attract sponsorship.

"I wouldn't be here if I didn't have those people support me through my career."

Courtney and Jack Perkins will be out to repeat their 2015 heroics when they tackle the GC600 next weekend.

James Courtney. Picture. Phil Hillyard
James Courtney. Picture. Phil Hillyard

COURTNEY'S BIGGEST MOMENTS

Winning the 2010 championship:

"The championship in 2010 was definitely a massive highlight. There was so much going against us through that period."

Changing teams to the Holden Racing Team:

"The change over to HRT the next year and that first win on that first weekend in Abu Dhabi was really pretty special."

Winning the 2015 Gold Coast 600:

"That win with Jack (Perkins) at the Gold Coast was a massive moment for me with my career and also personally because there is a lot of history with myself and Jack and his dad (Larry). His dad actually gave me $5000 when I was 15 when I left for Europe and he didn't want anything for it, he just said this is all I can give you and wished me luck. To then be able to stand on the podium with his son and sort of repay him I suppose, it was fantastic."



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