Bring it on home, James

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

WALK­ING into pit­lane in Ade­laide to­day will be like the first day back at school. The V8 Su­per­car cham­pi­onship is fir­ing up for an­other year and there will be that fa­mil­iar mix of ex­cite­ment, nerves and un­cer­tainty that al­ways made the school­yard a scary place for a few min­utes. But, like school, the V8 Su­per­car set­ting is filled with fa­mil­iar stuff.

The class clown? Paul Mor­ris. He is not driv­ing this year but he will still be stir­ring the pot.

The bully? It could be any num­ber of team own­ers, though Tom Walkin­shaw is tough to toss.

Teacher’s pet? Craig Lown­des al­ways seems to be the favourite.

The 2009 sea­son brings a lot of changes and plenty of new looks, from the Ker­mit-green Fu­jitsu Fal­con that Ja­son Bright will race, to the red Ford of Mar­cus Mar­shall, and Voda­fone Fal­cons that have a Hog’s Breath pig in the grille where there would nor­mally be a blue oval.

The big­gest ques­tion this year is the same as al­ways— who will top the class? Most smart money is go­ing on Garth Tan­der, Jamie Whin­cup and Mark Win­ter­bot­tom. Like last year.

Whin­cup is reign­ing cham­pion and, like his hero Roger Fed­erer, is study­ing the tini­est de­tails to en­sure he is the fittest, most fo­cused in the game.

But my pick— and I ad­mit bias to­wards a bloke I have ad­mired since he was a world go-kart cham­pion — is James Court­ney. He has been a win­ner in ev­ery­thing he has driven. He had the class for For­mula One un­til a 330km/h crash at Monza in a Jaguar that could have killed him.

Court­ney has been frus­trated by his fail­ure to per­form in V8 Su­per­cars and has crashed into ev­ery­thing but the safety car. This year he has a Triple Eight race­car, Dick John­son’s best V8 en­gines and the team man­ager who guided him through For­mula 3 in Bri­tain, Adrian Burgess, so there are no ex­cuses.

What do you think? Send us an email about your V8 champ and I’ll ar­range a prize for the best.

Cham­pion in most classes: any­thing less than the cham­pi­onship will be a fail­ure for James Court­ney.

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