The worst kept secret in Supercars is officially out after former series champion James Courtney was confirmed as the headline driver of a new two-car, Sydney-based Holden team for 2020.
Supercars confirmed on Wednesday that Courtney would spearhead the first top flight Sydney-based team in 15 years.
Speculation had been rife that Sydney-born Courtney would front a new outfit after the 2010 champion confirmed in August that he would walk away from Holden heavyweights Walkinshaw Andretti United at the end of the year following a frustrating nine-season run.
Supercars said the new team would take up a NSW government financial incentive and be based in a temporary facility next year before a base is constructed at Sydney Motorsport Park in the city’s west from 2021.
“It’s fantastic, a westie going home. I grew up out west (of Sydney) and started my whole motor racing career out there,” Courtney told Fox Sports’ Supercars Trackside.
“It’s great. Western Sydney’s been starved of motorsport.
“To be part of that, in bringing that back to Western Sydney is pretty special to me.
“I’m massively excited about the potential for the team and how popular it can be and the fanbase and all that stuff out there.”
The second driver is yet to be confirmed but young guns Jack Smith and Richie Stanaway are believed to be in the mix.
“Absolutely it sticks out that we don’t have a team based in Sydney currently,” Supercars CEO Sean Seamer told Supercars Trackside.
“It’s a massive market, huge fan base, a lot of sponsors, so it was always going to be a great opportunity for the right person to pick up and run with.
“We hope that we give back as much to the community out in Western Sydney.”
Queensland-based Tekno Autosports will provide one of the Racing Entitlement Contracts to help get the new team up and running.
It is a shot in the arm for Courtney who has endured a tough run at Walkinshaw Andretti United since joining as the reigning Supercars champion in 2011.
He savoured just seven wins in nine seasons at the leading Holden outfit, the last coming back in 2016.
The last time he was on the podium was at the 2018 Gold Coast 600 last October.
At 39, Courtney is the oldest regular driver on the grid.
He is 14th in the drivers’ championship ahead of this weekend’s Bathurst 1000 where he will combine with co-driver Jack Perkins.