James Courtney has joined touring car icon Dick
Johnson's Jim Beam Racing team for the 2009 V8 Supercar Championship
Courtney will race a new FG Falcon in the 14-round series, which
starts with the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide from March 19-22.
The 28-year-old's position at Jim Beam Racing was announced this week,
along with the team's other driver for 2009, Steven Johnson.
Courtney, who lives on the Gold Coast near Jim Beam Racing's
headquarters, previously drove in the championship from 2006-2008 in a
JELD-WEN Ford Falcon for Stone Brothers Racing, and he finished on the
podium in the prestigious Bathurst 1000 all three years.
"I'm fired up - this is a new chapter in V8 Supercars for me," said
"I can't wait for Adelaide. I'm going to race the wheels off the new car
there and everywhere else. Look out!"
"Dick Johnson's team has plenty of history, winning championships and
Bathurst, so there is plenty to live up to"
"That said, I think we will have the package to run with the front pack,
and hopefully in front of them. Nothing beats breathing clean air."
Courtney finished sixth in the championship in 2008, and his results
included podium finishes in four rounds and a debut race victory at
"Last year was my best in V8 Supercars," he said. "I've proved I can win
races and now I want to do it more often."
Dick Johnson Racing has won six Australian Touring Car Championship
titles in Fords - five of them by Johnson in the 1980s in Falcons and
turbocharged Sierras, and the other by John Bowe in a Falcon in 1995.
The team also has three Bathurst 1000 victories, by Johnson and John
French in 1981, and Johnson and Bowe in a Sierra in 1989 and in a Falcon
"I first met Dick (Johnson) at Bathurst in '95 when I was a teenager
racing karts," said Courtney.
Courtney said his assimilation into Jim Beam Racing would be assisted by
his past working relationship with Jim Beam Racing team manager Adrian
Burgess was Courtney's engineer and team manager when he raced for
Carlin Motorsport in the British Formula 3 Championship in 2002.
Courtney finished second in the series.
"Adrian was fantastic to work with," said Courtney. "We had a good
relationship back in Formula 3 and he knew how to help me get the best
out of my car. It will be good working with him again."
Courtney said that during the past three years he had also met other
members of the Jim Beam Racing team at events, including Steven Johnson
and co-owner Charlie Schwerkolt.
"Steven and I both have young children so that's something we share in
common," said Courtney. "Over the years I've also got to know Charlie
(Schwerkolt) and a few of the others in the team. This makes it easier
to settle into things."
Courtney said he hoped to drive his new FG Falcon for the first time at
the official V8 Supercars test day at Queensland Raceway on March 11.
"I got my first pole position in V8 Supercars at Adelaide in 2007, and
last year I qualified second, so I know I can do a quick lap there," he
Courtney raced overseas for a decade before returning to live in
Australia to drive in the V8 Supercar Championship. While overseas he
won two karting world championships in the 1990s, the British Formula
Ford Championship in 2000, and the Japanese Formula 3 Championship in
2003. He was a Formula One test driver for Jaguar in 2001 and again the
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