Courtney expected to 'step up' in second Tickford season

James Courtney's loyal backer Peter Adderton says he expects the former Supercars champion to 'step up' this season.

Courtney expected to 'step up' in second Tickford season

The Boost Mobile boss has been a long-time backer of Courtney, but upped his support of the 2010 champion during a difficult 2020 campaign.

That included the short-lived Team Sydney adventure, as well as the lifeline deal mid-way through the season to grab the fourth seat at Tickford Racing.

Despite not testing the Tickford Mustang once before his first race, and effectively learning on the fly across the remainder of the season, Courtney was able to bank 12 Top 10 finishes, including a second at Hidden Valley.

While impressive given the circumstances, Adderton is expecting more this time around given Courtney will have a full pre-season under his belt.

"We really didn't have a lot of chance to prepare [in 2020]," Adderton said.

"I think JC's got a better chance this year. He knows the car. His first test day [last year] was a race, which is always hard.

"You want to test the car and get to learn it, but he built up speed.

"But it's a big year, and we've made it clear to James this year that we expect some results. Last year, it was a lot harder. But this year, we expect him to step up and do a really good job."

Courtney drove his Boost Mustang for the first time this year at a ride at Phillip Island last week, ahead of the proper pre-season test at Winton next Tuesday.

There are some key changes to Courtney's programme heading into the new season, headlined by a change in race engineer. Brad Wischusen will move onto the #44 following Brendan Hogan's move to the Blanchard Racing Team.

The #44 has also been moved into the same garage as the Cam Waters #6 car, with Jack Le Brocq shifting to the second Tickford garage, which will be shared with Tim Slade in the BRT car.

"It's nice to be starting fresh this year," said Courtney. "It's all looking great. I'm excited to get a full season under my belt.

"I'm working with Brad this year, as Brendan moved on. I'm excited to be working closely with Cam, he's a great young talent. We worked well last year and it's good to continue that into this year, and build on what we started."

Courtney also opened up on the impending retirement of rival Jamie Whincup, flagging his own team management ambitions and admitting he'll be watching the seven-time champ's post-driving career with interest.

However Courtney is still planning on driving for at least another season beyond the current one.

“I was surprised; he’s still on top of his game and having great results and everything,” said Courtney.

“But maybe his heart isn’t in it. He’s had an amazing career, and he’s wanting to transfer into that management role. [That] is probably something that I was sort of looking towards too, so it’ll be good to see how he goes in that.

“I’m focused on the racing. I love racing and getting in there, banging doors with the boys still, so that’s where I’m focused. But never say never, we’ll see what happens.

“But it’s interesting, it’s good to be able to see the way different people progress after the racing side of things and where they go and [what they] do, whether it be commentary or into team land.

“I’ll have a bit of an eye on what he’s doing and hopefully I’m still running around next year.”

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