V8 Supercars driver James Courtney has been hospitalised after being hit with debris in pit-lane during a Navy helicopter flyover at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Just moments before the start of today’s second practice session a Navy helicopter made a low pass over pit-lane, the turbulence causing the Holden Racing Team’s boom to collapse.
Courtney was hit in the chest by debris, which led to him being taken to the medical centre, and then on to hospital for further tests, where the extent of his injuries were discovered.
"James Courtney has two fractured ribs and a pneumothorax which is small pocket of air between the ribs and lungs," read a statement.
"It creates pressure on the lungs and make breathing difficult. Courtney will remain in hospital for a couple of days to receive treatment."
Courtney's co-driver Jack Perkins will stand in for him at HRT for the remainder of the Sydney weekend.
“The Navy helicopter was hovering over pit-lane, he’s probably got a bit close and created a bit of a downdraught,” explained HRT manager Adrian Burgess.
“A piece of debris come across at [James], and he put his arm up to cover his face, a natural reaction. It’s hit his ribcage quite hard. His ribs are fine, but his lungs are… we’re not quite sure about the condition of his lungs.
“He’s stable, he’s fine, he’s not going going to die. But there is a bit of damage there.
“Obviously we have to make sure we do the right thing by him, so he’s gone to the hospital to have some proper tests.”
Writing on the wall
While Burgess was incredibly measured as he spoke about the incident, he did hint that the incident was avoidable.
“I can’t say more than it was always something that was going to happen at some point, we should have seen the writing on the wall,” he added.
“It’s done, we’re not going to blame anyone. We’ve just got to make sure we’re doing the right thing for James.”