James Courtney is an Australian racing driver, who won the 2010 V8 Supercars Championship title. Courtney debuted in the V8SC in 2005 and since then he changed four teams.
Prior to his Supercars career, James Courtney was the 2003 Japanese Formula 3 champion and 2000 British Formula Ford champion.
Early career success with karting championship titles
James Anthony Courtney was born on June 29, 1980, in Penrith, New South Wales. As a teenager, James spent few successful years as a karting racer, winning World Junior Karting Championship in 1995 and World Formula A Championship in 1997, before he moved to Great Britain in 1999, to compete in the Formula Ford championship.
Formula Ford British champion in 2000
In his debut season, the biggest success was the second place in the Formula Ford Festival, while in the championship standings James finished sixth. In 2000, Courtney won the championship with six victories in 14 races.
James joines Jaguar in 2001
The next step was the 2001 British Formula 3 Championship, as a driver of the Jaguar Junior Team. He had a successful debut, winning the first race of the season at Silverstone. Later in the season, Courtney scored eight more podiums, to finish fourth in the points. James also had testing duties in the Jaguar F1 Team.
200mph crash with F1 car at Monza
For 2002 F3 season, James joined Carlin Motorsport. He was one of the title contenders, with 11 pole positions in 14 races in the first part of the season. He converted it to four victories. Then, in July, he had a serious accident at Monza while testing a Jaguar F1 car. The suspension failure at the speed of about 200 mph caused the horrific crash. James luckily escaped severe injuries and returned to F3 championship just a week after Monza. Until the end of the championship, he won only one more race and lost the championship title from Robbie Kerr.
Formula 3 title in Japan
In 2003, Courtney stayed in the cockpit of the Formula 3 car but he changed not only the team and manufacturer but also the country and the continent. James joined TOM's team to drive Dallara F320 (Toyota) in the Japanese F3 Championship. He was an absolutely dominant driver on the grid, winning 13 of 20 races and taking the championship title with 100-point gap ahead of Ronnie Quintarelli. Courtney also debuted in the Formula Nippon, participating in four races for Team 5Zigen.
Two seasons in the Japanese GT championsship
In 2004, Courtney stayed in Japan but decided to leave single-seater racing and he switched to GT cars. He competed in the Japanese GT500 championship, driving Toyota Supra for Toyota Team TOM's. With just one podium in seven races, James finished sixth in the points. One more season in the Super GT championship followed in 2005, again with Toyota Supra. Courtney scored three podiums and finished seventh in the points.
V8 Supercars debut in 2005 endurance races
The milestone change followed in September 2005, when James debuted in the V8 Supercars Championship as Jim Richards' co-driver at Sandown and Bathurst endurance races, driving the #22 Holden VZ Commodore for Holden Racing Team. At Sandown 500 they finished 11th, at Bathurst 1000 the duo retired after just seven laps.
First full V8 season with Stone Brothers Racing
The real V8 Supercars debut followed in 2006 when Courtney joined Stone Brothers Racing to drive the #4 Ford BA Falcon for the full season. His teammate was defending champion Russell Ingall. In his debut season, James scored four podiums, including third place at Bathurst 1000, alongside co-driver Glenn Seton. After 34 races Courtney finished 11th in the points.
Second place at 2007 Bathurst 1000
In 2007, Courtney continued to drive for Stone Brothers Racing and came closest to victory at Bathurst 1000, finishing second. He was sharing the #4 Ford with David Besnard. In the championship, James scored seven podiums and finished ninth in the points.
The season 2008 was the last for James in the Stone Brothers Racing's Ford. He finally reached the top podium spot by winning the first race at Queensland Raceway in July. He added seven more podiums, including third place at Bathurst for him and Besnard, to finish sixth in the championship standings.
Move to the Dick Johnson Racing in 2009
In 2009, Courtney switched to Dick Johnson Racing, to drive the #18 Ford FG Falcon alongside teammate Steven Johnson in the #17 car. With two victories, at Townsville street circuit and Homebush street circuit, Courtney finished seventh in the championship points. At Bathurst 1000, he shared the car with Steven Johnson and they were classified 24th.
Courtney was 2010 V8 Supercars champion
In 2010, the best season to date, James Courtney scored five wins and added five more podiums to take the championship title in a close fight against Jamie Whincup. Courtney scored double wins at Queensland Raceway and Winton Motor Raceway in May. After that, he waited for the next victory until November, when he won at Sandown Raceway. At Bathurst 1000, Courtney finished fifth, sharing the car with Warren Luff.
Joining Holden Racing Team in 2011
Courtney's championship title was the first title for Dick Johnson Racing after 15 years of waiting and it seems to be the last DJR's title. With the championship trophy in his bags, Courtney joined Holden Racing Team for the 2011 season, to drive #1 Holden VE Commodore. His teammate was Garth Tander. Courtney's only victory in 2011 was in the opening round at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit. After that, he scored one more podium at Sandown and finish tenth in the points.
No wins in 2012 season
For the 2012 season, Courtney lost the number 1 and since then he was driving the #22 HRT Holden. He finished the season on the 10th place, without victories, scoring only two podiums in the last round at Sydney's Homebush street circuit. At Bathurst 1000, Courtney's co-driver for the second year in a row was Cameron McConville. They finished fourth, which remained Courtney's best Bathurst result with Holden Racing Team.
Courtney missed the end of the 2013 season
In 2013, Courtney and Greg Murphy didn't reach the finish at Bathurst. In the championship, Courtney's only victory was at Winton and he finished 11th in the points. Courtney was injured in the first race at Phillip Island so he missed the rest of the weekend, but also the last round of the championship at Sydney. He was replaced by Nick Percat.
Freaky accident at Sydney Motorsport Park
The accident at Phillip Island was a racing incident, but what happened at Sydney Motorsport Park in August 2015 was one of the most unusual accidents in a history of the Australian motorsport. While standing in the pits, James was injured when he was hit by an airborne piece of metal signage blown through the air by a low flying Navy helicopter. He had two broken ribs and a punctured lung. Courtney missed the race at Sydney and two endurance races at Sandown and Mount Panorama.
Return and victory at Gold Coast 600
He returned to the track in the Gold Coast 600 at Surfers Paradise and scored his second victory of the season. Prior to that, he won in the opening round at Adelaide. With two wins and six podiums, Courtney finished the 2015 championship as tenth in the points.
Losing a factory support from 2017
For the 2016 V8 SC season, the #22 Holden remained Courtney's car. He started the season with the second place in the opening race at Adelaide street circuit and victory in the second race. It was his only win in 2016, he later added two more podiums to finish 11th in the points.
For the 2017 season, Walkinshaw Racing lost Holden's factory support, which is moved to the Triple Eight/Red Bull team. Walkinshaw Racing contnues to compete under the Mobil 1 HSV Racing banner, retaining Courtney in the #22 car.